Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Expert panel recommends exotic animal ban in NC

Jan 29, 2007 12:54 PM EST

WILMINGTON - Lions and tigers and bears are just a few of the exotic animals living at the Tregembo Animal Park on Carolina Beach Road.

But once those animals die, you may not see their species in this area again.

A panel of experts meeting at the request of state lawmakers recommends banning certain exotic animals.

They say they're too dangerous for private zoos like Tregembo, or for use as pets. Animals already owned by private zoos or owners would be exempt.

The issue goes to the legislature in the next two weeks.

If the recommendation is made law, monkeys and other animals would have to be fixed so they could not breed.

"They would have to be spayed or neutered, whichever, and micro-chipped also, so they can make sure you're not changing out animals for younger animals," said Robert Tregembo, owner of Tregembo Animal Park. "And when the animals pass away from old age, you cannot replace them. No more monkeys, no more lions, tigers, bears."

But at least one zoo is exempt: the state zoo in Asheboro.

"The state zoo is running this board and so they exempted their own self and said we're not exempted," said Pat Faircloth, owner of a zoo in Chadbourn.

But Faircloth's zoo and Tregembo follow the same regulations as the state zoo, Faircloth said.

"The USDA regulates us. We follow the exact same guidelines," he said. "We are inspected by the same woman with the USDA that inspects the North Carolina zoo, so they follow the same guidelines as we do or are following the same as they do, but ours, they claim, are not up to par."

Reported by Kacey Gaumer


City staff recommend exotic animal ban in Vancouver, B.C.

Nicholas Read, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007

VANCOUVER - City staff are recommending the city ban the keeping and sale of lions, tigers, wild dogs, crocodiles and some lizards and snakes for reasons of safety and animal welfare.

And in an effort to get similar bylaws enacted throughout B.C., the report, written by the office of the chief licence inspector, suggests Mayor Sam Sullivan send a letter to the Union of B.C. Municipalities urging the adoption of a provincewide list of banned exotic animals.

If council approves the recommendation Feb. 1, Vancouver will join Langley, Richmond, Surrey, Abbotsford, New Westminster, the City and District of North Vancouver and 12 communities outside the Lower Mainland in what has become a growing campaign by local jurisdictions to curb the trade in exotic pets.

"Vancouver has an opportunity to get on board, so let's get to it," said Coun. Kim Capri who, with help from the Vancouver Humane Society, asked staff to prepare the report last year.

Capri said she was "thrilled" with the outcome, except she thinks the list of restricted species also should include amphibians.

"My guess is when this comes to committee, we will likely hear from animal lovers who say there are other things we could be adding on," she said.

Capri said an "overwhelming majority" of the public support the initiative, and "the only people who are opposed are people who profit from the sale of [exotics]."

The report, issued last week, says only three independent pet stores sell exotic animals in the city, but notes they are also available through private sale, and that many national and regional pet store chains "promote the keeping of exotic/wild animals as pets."

Last June, a 1.5-metre crocodile fell out of a third-storey apartment on West Fourth Avenue. The report said that incident "reaffirmed the need to take a closer look at the issue."

Vancouver Humane Society representative Peter Fricker said: "It's clear the city has recognized that exotic animals suffer in captivity and that they pose a threat to public health and safety.

"We think the proposed list of banned animals could be longer [it should include primates, iguanas, monitor lizards and wolf-dog hybrids, he said] but this is a great step forward for animal welfare in Vancouver."

Cam McOuat, a co-owner of Aquariums West pet store on Burrard, said while he supports a ban on the sale of large and dangerous animals, such as pythons and crocodiles, the new law will do nothing to prevent the underground sale of exotic animals and is another example of the city interfering in something that doesn't need addressing.

"A lot of these things are rhetoric," he said, "and when the rubber meets the road, you'll find there ain't too much rubber on the road."

He also said it won't affect his ability to sell such reptiles and amphibians as geckos, skinks, frogs, anoles and chameleons.

Paul Springate, curator of the Rainforest Reptile Refuge in Surrey, said 99 per cent of the more than 300 animals at the refuge -- which include large and dangerous snakes and lizards -- are discarded pets.

The bylaw also would ban the use of wild and/or exotic animals in public performances, events and exhibitions. The city has prohibited the use of such animals in circuses since 1992, but there are no restrictions on using them in other kinds of performances.

In 2005, a Las Vegas magic act sought to include tigers in a show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The show's star, Rick Thomas, changed his mind after protests from animal-welfare groups.



Bylaw to Ban Some Animals From Vancouver

If enacted, a proposed bylaw would prohibit the keeping of the following animals within city limits:

- Snakes: green anaconda, yellow anaconda, reticulated python, African rock python, Burmese python, Indian python, amethyst python

- Hyenas

- Crocodilians, including alligators and crocodiles

- All venomous reptiles

- Canids such as wolves, jackals, coyotes and foxes

- Felids such as lions and tigers

- Bears

It also would prohibit the following species from being sold:

- Canids

- Cetaceans, including whales, dolphins, porpoises

- Crocodilians

- Edentates, including anteaters, sloths, armadillos

- Elephants

- Felids, including lions and tigers

- Green iguanas

- Hyenas

- Insectivores, except African pygmy hedgehogs

- Marsupials, except sugar gliders

- Mutelids (skunks, weasels, otters), except domesticated ferrets

- Non-human primates

- Pinnipeds (seals, walruses)

- Raccoons

- Birds of prey

- Ostriches

- Rodents, except domestic hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats and mice

- Pythons and anacondas

- Turtles and turtle eggs

- Ungulates, except goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, llamas and alpacas

- Bears

- Venomous spiders and insects

- Venomous reptiles

- Mongooses, civets, genets

Source: City of Vancouver

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/ story.html?id=d6548355-37ff-4149-ba11-5a9c583ee188

Monday, January 22, 2007

Indiana bill prohibiting private possession of wild animals introduced

Text of bill as introduced is available at:


January 19, 2007

WASHINGTON – Indiana State Senator Connie Sipes (D-New Albany) introduced legislation (SB 482) this week to protect public safety by prohibiting the private possession of certain wild and dangerous animals in the state. People who already have these animals would be able to keep them by getting a permit from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

"Wild animals kept in untrained hands in our communities pose a serious threat to Indiana residents," said Senator Sipes "My constituents are very concerned about the proliferation of exotic pets. They want action now. Wild animals belong in the wild, not in our backyards."

"The Humane Society of the United States applauds Senator Sipes for her leadership in protecting public safety and promoting animal welfare," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS. "It is extremely difficult to meet the needs of wild animals in captivity. All too often, people get them as infants and when they grow too large and aggressive to handle, there is no place for them to go. They may end up confined to small cages, passed from owner to owner, or let loose."

The bill targets the pet trade and substandard roadside facilities and would have no impact on accredited zoos, circuses and research facilities.

David Hall, Director of New Albany-Floyd County Animal Control and Shelter, added. "This legislation will protect law enforcement officials who can't predict what animals they might encounter today. Placing wild animals when they come into the shelter shouldn't be the answer; it's better if people don't get them as pets in the first place."

The legislation builds on Indiana's regulatory structure. Currently, a DNR permit is required to keep certain wild animals as pets in Indiana, specifically wild cats such as lions, tigers and servals; wolves; bears; alligators at least five feet long; and venomous snakes. SB 482 will expand the list of regulated animals to include large constrictor snakes, crocodiles, chimpanzees, monkeys and other dangerous wild animals, and will prohibit private possession of these animals. In addition, it will expand the list of regulated entities to include those licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The consequences of the trade in exotic animals can be deadly. In September, a man was killed by his pet reticulated python in Harrison County. Nationwide, at least 18 people have been killed by captive exotic animals in the past five years, and many more have been injured.

This month a cougar escaped from a USDA-licensed facility in Clay County, and in 2004 a pet cougar escaped from a car after a crash in Allen County. A 4 ½ foot long alligator was found in a pond in Johnson County in 2005, and an alligator who had become too much to handle was dropped off at an Elkhart shelter in September.

http://www.hsus.org/press_and_publications/press_releases/ hsus_applauds_indiana_state_sen_sipes.html

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Milwaukee suburb considers exotic animal ordinance

By BRIAN PAYNTER/Staff Reporter

MAYVILLE - Reports of an alligator roaming the streets of a suburban Milwaukee community a few months ago prompted Mayor Ron Sternat and the common council on Monday to introduce an ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping wild and exotic animals.

"People sometimes do bizarre things," Sternat said. "Some homeowner must've gotten a little alligator, fed it and it just got too big for them to handle or they no longer wanted to deal with it. So they let if crawl out."

But, he said, a loose alligator could jeopardize the safety of people living in the community.

"If somebody spots this thing they're going to go ballistic," Sternat said. "I would too if I happened to be sitting down at the park pavilion and an alligator came down the middle of Rock River."

He said the loose alligator incident made him realize that the city of Mayville doesn't have anything on the books that recognizes the potential problems of owning wild and exotic animals.

"What happens if the cable guy had the door open while he was working on your TV and your poisonous boa constrictor or python snake got outside?" Sternat said. "This snake is now slithering over to the lawn and devours the neighbor's dog. It sounds ridiculous, but a wild animal is still a wild animal. You can't take a bear and make it a pet and that's what a lot of this deals with."

He said homeowners who already own wild or exotic animals need to have them registered so the city knows they're there.

"We need to protect the people of Mayville," Sternat said.

The public safety committee will discuss the wild and exotic animal ordinance at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the council chambers at city hall.

Under the ordinance:

-No person can keep, maintain or possess any poisonous reptile, dangerous or wild animal or insect. This includes, but isn't limited to, poisonous insects and arachnids, all venomous snakes, constrictor snakes, any snakes exceeding four feet in length and monitor lizards.

-Other dangerous or wild animals listed in the ordinance are non-human primates, bears, crocodiles, alligators, coyotes, elephants, gamecocks and other fighting birds, bats, hippopotami, hyenas, jaguars, leopards, lions, lynx, pumas, cougars, mountain lions, panthers, ocelots, tigers or other wild feline species, wolves, prairie dogs and wild and domestic animal hybrids such as a coyote/dog.

-The prohibitions won't apply to city residents who have one or more of the aforementioned species before the ordinance takes effect and who register their wild or exotic animal with the city clerk's office within 60 days of the effective date.

Any resident who wants to claim exemption under the wild and exotic animal ordinance must furnish satisfactory evidence such as a bill of sale, veterinary records or other proof satisfactory to the city clerk which demonstrates ownership of the otherwise prohibited species before the ordinance takes effect. All such animals must be photographed and implanted with a microchip for identification.

Other exceptions to the ordinance will be licensed veterinary clinics, licensed animal rehabilitation homes, zoological gardens, public or private educational institutions, agricultural fairs, shows or projects of 4-H clubs, a display for judging purposes, circuses and professional animal acts or other shows requiring an entertainment activity license under section 12.04 of the municipal code.

Provisions of an entertainment activity license are that:

-Their location conforms to the zoning requirements of Chapter 13 of the municipal code.

-All animals and animal quarters are kept in a clean and sanitary condition and so maintained as to eliminate objectionable odors.

-Animals are maintained in quarters constructed to prevent their escape.

Anyone violating the wild and exotic animal ordinance would be fined not less than $1 and not more than $200, together with the costs of prosecution. If they default in the payment of the fine, they will be imprisoned in the county jail until the costs are paid, but not more than 90 days.

Upon a second offense, the forfeiture would be not less than $10 nor more than $200 for each offense, together with the costs of prosecution. In default of payment, the person shall be imprisoned in the county jail until the forfeiture is paid. The prison stay will not exceed six months.

Each day a violation continues or occurs constitutes a separate offense.