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Old 07-02-04, 08:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
Jeff Hathaway
Join Date: Mar-2003
Location: Orillia, ON
Age: 47
Posts: 460
Here's my comments to the state (some of it cut and pasted from the above posts):


Though I live next door in Canada, I feel obliged to comment on Bill 26804, which could affect the operations of our program and similar programs in your state. I feel reasonably qualified to make these suggestions, as I am a university educated biologist, authorized by the province of Ontario to keep protected species and as a wildlife custodian (rehabber), and since I have spent the last 10 years performing conservation education programs about reptiles and amphibians. I am also a USFWS licensed importer/exporter, and bring animals for use in our programs into Canada through New York state.

Regarding 2.2E(5), reptiles included within the definition of 'wild animal'- various monitor species are specified, which I think is great, however the inclusion of the entire family Boidae is not warranted. There are many species within the family Boidae which are small, quite safe, and very reasonable pets. Many are already very common as pets, and if you prohibit them you will have a lot of work ahead to license all of the owners of 3' long ball pythons, 2' long rosy and sand boas, etc. Also, because there is no logical reason to prohibit these animals, this creates a situation where many people will simply choose to disobey the law. I suggest that you replace the family 'Boidae' with either of the following:

"snakes of the family 'Boidae' or 'Pythonidae' that routinely exceed ten feet in length at adult size" (or substitute 8' if you must, but that is not very biologically defensible in terms of safety)


"Indian Pythons (Python molurus molurus), Burmese Pythons (Python m. bivitattus), African Rock Pythons (P. sebae), Reticulated Pythons (P. reticulatus), Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)"

The latter is more in keeping with the tack taken already by specifying the monitor species, and also avoids interpretation regarding the adult length of dwarf forms (which sometimes don't remain 'dwarfs'). I recommend the latter approach. It covers the species considered to be capable (though rarely) of being dangerous to humans.

Regarding 5.6, it does appear a bit unreasonable that if you are given a permit for an animal you already own, you can't dispose of that animal (i.e. sell, trade, give away) to someone outside of NY state where it could legally be possessed. As I interpret the law, that wouldn't be allowed- it can only be surrendered to the state, SPCA, etc. There is no logical reason not to allow this, and it would reduce the workload of your SPCA offices! However, I suppose if the permitted person transports the animal outside of NY state and then gives it away, they might not be subject to the provisions of this bill. I'm not sure, not being a lawyer, nor a resident of the US and therefore more familiar with the laws of the land. Regardless, if someone can no longer care for their animal properly, they should be allowed to dispose of it to either another licensee or a person in another jurisdiction. Perhaps the approval of the state could be required if the state wishes to exercise some control over this.

In addition, some people under the age of 21 may own some of these animals. Their parents would have to become the licensees. There should be a mechanism for a license to be transferred to a person from parent to child, when the child becomes 21 (assuming, of course, they can comply with the regulations). This parent/child transfer would also solve the problem of what to do if the licensee predeceases the 'wild animal'!

It is a little unnerving that regulations to be followed by licensed exhibitors, and people who had animals previously, must be followed but are yet to be developed. It would be hard to determine if something is a problem when the regulation governing it is not yet written! However, keeping in mind the animals in question (assuming that the boid inclusion is revised), I don't mind tough requirements for the ownership of said creatures.

I do think it is unreasonable to license reptile exhibitors and then tell them they can't take the animals they're licensed for into schools (5.6, lines 39-42). And strangely enough, this applies only to venomous snakes and boids, but not the monitors or crocs, which to me are more likely to be a problem! If regulations exist to allow licensing, then the regulations should include whatever is deemed suitable to allow them into schools. I don't make a point of taking a massasauga rattlesnake into schools in most of Ontario, but I certainly do take one (in a suitable locked enclosure) if I'm going to a school in the areas where rattlesnakes are found in the wild! It is important to be able to educate the kids about what they might find in their backyard, and in NY state, that may include massasaugas, timber rattlesnakes, and copperheads. It can be done quite safely, and the regulations should address this rather than simply prohibiting it in the bill.

Thank you for your time, and the opportunity to comment on this bill. I welcome further discussion of these issues if you are interested.

Sincerely yours,

Jeff Hathaway
Sciensational Sssnakes!!
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