H.R. 996: Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act (HR669 Re-write)

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) sponsor of HR 996
Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) sponsor of HR 996

As predicted by the US Herpetoculture Alliance, Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced H.R. 996: Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act on March 6, 2013. H.R. 996 is the expected re-write of H.R. 669 from 2008. H.R. 996 has 28 co-sponsors and has been referred to four different committees: House Natural Resources- Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, House Budget, House Judiciary, House Ways and Means committees. H.R. 996 seeks to set up an “accepted” (white) list of common domesticated pets and livestock, and an “unaccepted” (black) list; that by default would be everything not included on the “accepted” list. This is a “guilty until proven innocent” approach that would add all “unaccepted” species to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act in one massive blanket listing. Hundreds of species could be criminalized as to import and interstate transport. Most reptiles and amphibians would fall to the “unaccepted” list and be subject to sanctions under the Lacey Act.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) have confirmed to the Herp Alliance that they will introduce a companion bill into the US Senate later this session.

The Herp Alliance has been busy staying ahead of this anticipated action and took numerous meetings on Capitol Hill last week to address this very issue.

The US Herpetoculture Alliance OPPOSES this legislative proposal to further corrupt the Lacey Act.

Stay tuned for an action alert from the Herp Alliance to take action to OPPOSE H.R. 996!

NO on H.R. 996

Text of H.R. 996 below:

HR 996 IH

 

113th CONGRESS
 

1st Session
 

H. R. 996
To establish an improved regulatory process for injurious wildlife to prevent the introduction and establishment in the United States of nonnative wildlife and wild animal pathogens and parasites that are likely to cause harm.

 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 

March 6, 2013
Ms. SLAUGHTER (for herself, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. HIGGINS, Mr. ELLISON, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mr. GRIJALVA, Ms. BORDALLO, Mr. MAFFEI, Ms. LEE of California, Mr. CONYERS, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. MORAN, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. WALZ, Mr. MURPHY of Florida, Mr. SABLAN, Mr. FARR, Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York, Mr. PETERS of Michigan, Mr. RYAN of Ohio, Ms. PINGREE of Maine, and Mr. DINGELL) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, Ways and Means, and the Budget, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


 

A BILL
To establish an improved regulatory process for injurious wildlife to prevent the introduction and establishment in the United States of nonnative wildlife and wild animal pathogens and parasites that are likely to cause harm.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act’.

 

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Act is to establish an improved regulatory process for injurious wildlife to prevent the introduction and establishment in the United States of nonnative wildlife and wild animal pathogens and parasites that are likely to cause–

(1) economic or environmental harm; or

(2) harm to humans or animal health.

 

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) APPROVED WILDLIFE SANCTUARY- The term ‘approved wildlife sanctuary’ means a sanctuary that cares for wildlife species that–

(A)(i) is a corporation that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code 1986 and is described in sections 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of that Code; or

(ii) is an educational entity;

(B) does not commercially trade in animals regulated under this Act, including offspring, parts, and byproducts of those animals;

(C) does not propagate animals regulated under this Act; and

(D) meets any additional criteria that the Service determines are necessary and consistent with the purpose of this Act.

(2) AQUATIC NUISANCE SPECIES TASK FORCE- The term ‘Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force’ means the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force established under section 1201 of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 4702).

(3) DIRECTOR- The term ‘Director’ means the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

(4) FUND- The term ‘Fund’ means the Injurious Wildlife Prevention Fund established by section 16(a).

(5) IMPORT- The term ‘import’ means to bring into, or introduce into, or attempt to bring into, or introduce into, any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, regardless of whether the bringing into or introduction constitutes an importation within the meaning of the customs laws of the United States.

(6) INDIAN TRIBE- The term ‘Indian tribe’ has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).

(7) NATIONAL INVASIVE SPECIES COUNCIL- The term ‘National Invasive Species Council’ means the National Invasive Species Council established by Executive Order 13112 on February 8, 1999 (64 Fed. Reg. 6183).

(8) NATIVE- The term ‘native’, with respect to a wildlife taxon, means a wildlife taxon that historically occurred or currently occurs in the United States, other than as a result of an intentional or unintentional introduction by humans.

(9) NONNATIVE WILDLIFE TAXON-

(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘nonnative wildlife taxon’ means any family, genus, species, or subspecies of live animal that is not native to the United States, regardless of whether the animal was born or raised in captivity.

(B) INCLUSIONS- The term ‘nonnative wildlife taxon’ includes any viable egg, sperm, gamete, or other reproductive material or offspring of an animal of a family, genus, species, or subspecies described in subparagraph (A).

(C) EXCLUSIONS- The term ‘nonnative wildlife taxon’ does not include–

(i) any taxon that is–

(I) specifically defined or regulated as a plant pest or approved for biological control purposes under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.); or

(II) defined or regulated as a threat to livestock or poultry under the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.); or

(ii) any common and clearly domesticated species or subspecies, including–

(I) cat (Felis catus);

(II) cattle or oxen (Bos taurus);

(III) chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus);

(IV) common canary (Serinus canaria domesticus);

(V) dog (Canis lupus familiaris);

(VI) donkey or ass (Equus asinus);

(VII) domesticated members of the family Anatidae (geese);

(VIII) duck (domesticated Anas spp.);

(IX) domesticated ferret (Mustela furo);

(X) gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus);

(XI) goat (Capra aegagrus hircus);

(XII) guinea pig or Cavy (Cavia porcellus);

(XIII) goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus);

(XIV) domesticated hamsters (Cricetulus griseus, Mesocricetus auratus, Phodopus campbelli, Phodopus sungorus, and Phodopus roborovskii);

(XV) horse (Equus caballus);

(XVI) llama (Lama glama);

(XVII) mule or hinny (Equus caballus x E. asinus);

(XVIII) pig or hog (Sus scrofa domestica);

(XIX) domesticated varieties of rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus);

(XX) sheep (Ovis aries); or

(XXI) any other species or subspecies that the Director determines to be common and clearly domesticated.

(10) PERSON- The term ‘person’ means–

(A) an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association, or other private entity;

(B) any officer, employee, agent, department, or instrumentality of the Federal Government, or of any tribal government, or of any State, municipality, or political subdivision of a State, or of any foreign government; and

(C) any other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal United States.

(11) QUALIFIED INSTITUTION- The term ‘qualified institution’ means an institution that is determined by the Director to be–

(A) for scientific, veterinary, or medical research or education, or a zoo or aquarium accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; or

(B) an approved wildlife sanctuary.

(12) SECRETARY- The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior.

(13) STATE- The term ‘State’ means–

(A) each of the several States of the United States;

(B) the District of Columbia;

(C) the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;

(D) Guam;

(E) American Samoa;

(F) the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;

(G) the Federated States of Micronesia;

(H) the Republic of the Marshall Islands;

(I) the Republic of Palau; and

(J) the United States Virgin Islands.

(14) UNITED STATES- The term ‘United States’ means–

(A) the States; and

(B) any land and water, including the territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone, within the jurisdiction or sovereignty of the Federal Government.

 

SEC. 4. PROPOSALS FOR REGULATION OF NONNATIVE WILDLIFE TAXA.

(a) Proposals- Any person or entity, or the Director, at the discretion of the Director, may propose the regulation of, or revised regulation of, 1 or more taxa.

(b) Information- A proposal by a person or agency should include adequate information to allow the Director to determine whether the taxon meets the criteria for designation as Injurious I or Injurious II under section 5(a)(1)(A).

(c) Public and Agency Comment-

(1) IN GENERAL- Upon receipt of a proposal that the Director determines to be complete, and for any proposal the Director elects to prepare, the Director shall publish notice of the proposal in the Federal Register and provide an opportunity for at least 60 days of public comment.

(2) REGULATIONS FOR COMPLETE PROPOSALS- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, acting through the Director, shall promulgate regulations on the criteria for complete proposals.

(d) Determination- Not later than 180 days after the date of publication of a proposal under subsection (c), or as soon thereafter as is feasible, the Director shall make a determination as to whether the proposal should be approved or disapproved.

(e) Notice of Determination- The Director shall–

(1) publish in the Federal Register notice of the determination made under subsection (d); and

(2) make the basis for the determination available on a publicly available Federal Internet site.

 

SEC. 5. SCIENTIFIC RISK ASSESSMENT AND RISK DETERMINATION REGULATIONS.

(a) Assessment and Determination-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary, acting through the Director, shall promulgate regulations–

(A) to further specify the criteria for regulating a nonnative wildlife taxon as–

(i) an Injurious I taxon, which shall be a taxon–

(I) that the Director determines–

(aa) to be injurious to human beings, the interests of agriculture, horticulture, or forestry, or wildlife or wildlife resources of the United States; and

(bb) to have a high degree of potential harm and is a taxon with which qualified institutions have not previously had significant experience in maintaining successfully in captivity and preventing escapes or releases; and

(II) except as provided in section 12, the importation and transportation of which in interstate commerce shall be conducted only pursuant to a permit issued under section 12 to a qualified institution; or

(ii) an Injurious II taxon, which shall be a taxon–

(I) that the Director determines–

(aa) to be injurious to human beings, the interests of agriculture, horticulture, or forestry, or wildlife or wildlife resources of the United States; but

(bb) to have a degree of potential for harm that is less than the degree of potential harm of an Injurious I taxon or is a taxon with which qualified institutions have previously had significant experience in maintaining successfully in captivity and preventing escapes or releases; and

(II) for which no permit is required if the taxon is–

(aa) imported to a qualified institution;

(bb) transported in interstate commerce and intrastate commerce to and among qualified institutions; or

(cc) held by a qualified institution;

(B) to establish a process for assessing and analyzing the risks of taxa that may have been, or foreseeably could be, imported into, or found in interstate commerce within, the United States; and

(C) that may also provide for cases in which exceptions or additions to the Injurious I taxon or Injurious II taxon criteria may be necessary to address extraordinary risks.

(2) BASIS, AVAILABILITY, AND REVIEW- The Director shall–

(A) ensure that the risk assessment and risk determination processes conducted under this section are based on sound science; and

(B) make the results of each such assessment and determination available to the public.

(3) PREVIOUSLY LISTED TAXA- Each wildlife taxon previously designated by statute or by the Secretary as injurious under section 42(a) of title 18, United States Code (including under any regulation promulgated under that authority), shall, after the effective date of the final regulations promulgated under this subsection, be promptly designated by the Director as an Injurious I taxon or Injurious II taxon under this subsection, based on a determination by the Director of whether the taxon meets the criteria described in clause (i) or (ii), respectively, of paragraph (1)(A).

(4) DEADLINES-

(A) PROPOSED REGULATIONS- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a proposed version of the regulations required under this subsection.

(B) FINAL REGULATIONS- Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall promulgate final regulations required under this subsection, including a public notification of the process for submission of a proposal under section 4(a).

(C) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENT OF PRE-IMPORT RISK SCREENING FOR ALL TAXA NOVEL TO THE UNITED STATES-

(i) IN GENERAL- Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall by regulation–

(I) define the phrase ‘non-native wildlife taxa novel to the United States’ for the purpose of this section; and

(II) set forth a process to ensure that all unregulated non-native wildlife taxa novel to the United States are thereafter reviewed by the Director prior to allowance of their importation to the United States to determine whether they should be regulated under any of clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (1)(A).

(ii) AVOIDANCE OF NEW INCENTIVES- In promulgating the regulation under clause (i), the Secretary shall seek to avoid creating a new incentive for animal importers to import novel taxa prior to the effective date of the regulation.

(iii) NEW REGULATION FOR IMPORTS OF TAXA NOVEL TO THE UNITED STATES- Not later than 1 year after the date of promulgation of the regulation under clause (i), the Secretary shall implement the regulation.

(b) Scientific Risk Assessment- The regulations promulgated under subsection (a) shall require consideration, in an initial scientific risk assessment of a taxon, of at least–

(1) the scientific name and native range of the taxon;

(2) whether the taxon has established or spread, or caused harm to the economy, the environment, or the health of other animal species in the United States or in an ecosystem similar to an ecosystem in the United States;

(3) whether environmental conditions suitable for the establishment or spread of the taxon exist or will exist in the United States;

(4) the likelihood of establishment and spread of the taxon;

(5) whether the taxon will cause harm to human beings, to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or to wildlife or the wildlife resources of the United States;

(6) whether the taxon will damage land, water, or facilities of the National Park System or other public land;

(7) the best available scientific risk screening systems or predictive models that apply to the taxon; and

(8) other factors important to assessing risks, if any, associated with the taxon, in accordance with the purpose of this Act.

(c) Risk Determination- Prior to designating any nonnative wildlife taxon as an Injurious I taxon or Injurious II taxon under subsection (a), after conducting a risk assessment, the Director shall prepare a risk determination that takes into consideration–

(1) the results of the risk assessment; and

(2) at a minimum–

(A) the capabilities and any efforts of States, local governments, and Indian tribes to address the risks, if any, identified by the Director with respect to the taxon, including the results of any risk assessments conducted for the taxon that are available to the Director;

(B) the potential for reduction, mitigation, control, and management of any risks identified; and

(C) whether any risks identified already are adequately addressed under other applicable law.

(d) Discretionary Analysis-

(1) IN GENERAL- In preparing the risk determination for a taxon, the Director may consider the economic, social, and cultural impacts of a decision on whether to regulate the taxon.

(2) OTHER REQUIREMENTS- This section shall satisfy the requirements of, and apply in lieu of any other requirement to complete an analysis under, any other law (including a regulation or Executive order) on economic, social, or cultural impact.

(e) Notice and Consultation- In promulgating regulations under subsection (a), the Director shall notify and consult with, at a minimum–

(1) affected States, Indian tribes, qualified institutions, and other stakeholders;

(2) the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force;

(3) the National Invasive Species Council;

(4) the Department of Agriculture;

(5) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and

(6) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

SEC. 6. EMERGENCY TEMPORARY DESIGNATION.

(a) In General- If the Director determines an emergency exists because an unregulated nonnative wildlife taxon poses an imminent threat of harm to individuals in or wildlife of the United States, or the economy or environment of the United States, the Director may immediately temporarily designate the nonnative wildlife taxon as Injurious I in accordance with section 5(a)(1)(A)(i).

(b) Notice of Temporary Designation- The Director shall promptly–

(1) publish in the Federal Register notice of each temporary designation under this subsection; and

(2) make the basis for the designation available on a publicly available Federal Internet site and through other appropriate means.

(c) Determination- Not later than 1 year after temporarily designating a nonnative wildlife taxon using the emergency authority under this section, the Director shall–

(1) make a final determination regarding whether the taxon should be further regulated under either of clause (i) or (ii) of section 5(a)(1)(A);

(2) publish notice of that final determination in the Federal Register; and

(3) make the basis for the determination available on a publicly available Federal Internet site.

(d) Limitation on Procedures- The procedures under sections 4 and 5 of this Act and section 553 of title 5, United States Code, shall not apply to temporary designations under this section.

(e) State Requests- If the Governor of a State requests a temporary emergency designation under this section, the Director shall respond promptly with a written determination on the request.

 

SEC. 7. INFORMATION ON IMPORTED ANIMALS.

(a) Improved Information- The Director shall–

(1) not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, establish an electronic database that describes, using scientific names to the species level (or subspecies level, if applicable), all quantities of imports of all live wildlife, and the regulatory status of the wildlife, in a form that permits that information to be rapidly accessed; and

(2) not later than 30 days after the date of importation of wildlife described in paragraph (1), make the information described in that paragraph (other than confidential business information associated with those imports that is protected under other Federal law) available on a publicly available Federal Internet site.

(b) Annual Report of Information- Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and not later than each April 1 thereafter, the Director shall issue, including on a publicly available Federal Internet site, a report that includes, at a minimum, a description of–

(1) all nonnative wildlife imported, using scientific names of the wildlife to the species or subspecies level, to the extent known; and

(2) cumulative quantities of imported wildlife and the regulatory status of the wildlife.

(c) Monitoring Import Information- In consultation with inspection, customs, and border officials in the Departments of Agriculture and Homeland Security, the Director shall regularly–

(1) monitor the identities and quantities of nonnative wildlife taxa being imported, with particular emphasis on wildlife newly in the import trade to the United States; and

(2) determine, to the maximum extent practicable, whether the newly traded taxa would meet the criteria for regulation, and should be regulated, under any of clause (i) or (ii) of section 5(a)(1)(A).

 

SEC. 8. INJURIOUS WILDLIFE DETERMINATIONS.

(a) In General- Immediately upon the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall make more rapid determinations on proposals for regulation of wildlife under section 42 of title 18, United States Code.

(b) Streamlining of Determinations- In carrying out subsection (a) and other provisions of this Act, the Secretary–

(1) shall use the best available scientific risk screening systems or predictive models that apply to the taxon under consideration;

(2) shall forego time-consuming optional administrative steps, unless the Secretary determines the steps to be essential; and

(3) notwithstanding chapter 6, and section 804, of title 5, United States Code, may forego economic impact analyses.

 

SEC. 9. EFFECT ON INJURIOUS WILDLIFE PROVISION.

This Act and the regulations promulgated under this Act shall take precedence over any conflicting regulation promulgated under section 42 of title 18, United States Code.

 

SEC. 10. PREVENTION OF WILDLIFE PATHOGENS AND PARASITES.

(a) In General- The Secretary shall have the primary authority to prevent, and the primary responsibility for preventing, the importation of, and interstate commerce in, wildlife pathogens and harmful parasites.

(b) Regulations-

(1) IN GENERAL- In addition to regulations required under section 5(a), the Secretary shall promulgate such regulations as are necessary–

(A) to minimize the likelihood of introduction or dissemination of any disease or harmful parasite of native or nonnative wildlife; and

(B) to impose any additional necessary import restrictions, including management measures, health certifications, quarantine requirements, specifications for conveyances, holding water, and associated materials, shipment and handling requirements, and other measures that the Secretary determines to be necessary–

(i) to prevent the importation of, and interstate commerce in, wildlife pathogens and harmful parasites; and

(ii) to address–

(I) a particular taxon;

(II) the place of origin of a particular taxon; and

(III) the conveyance and materials associated with wildlife transport.

(c) Relationship to Other Authorities-

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall exclude from regulation under this section any pathogen, parasite, or host taxon that is–

(A) defined or regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services as a threat to humans under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264);

(B) defined or regulated by the Department of Agriculture as a threat to livestock or poultry under the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.); or

(C) specifically defined or regulated by the Department of Agriculture as a plant pest or approved for biological control purposes under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.).

(2) EXCEPTION- The Secretary may regulate a pathogen, parasite, or host taxon described in any of subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1) to the extent that the taxon also poses a wildlife disease risk.

(d) Coordination-

(1) IN GENERAL- In promulgating regulations under and otherwise carrying out this section and section 7, the Secretary shall consult and coordinate with–

(A) other Federal agencies and departments with authority to regulate taxa;

(B) State wildlife agencies;

(C) State veterinarians; and

(D) other officials with related authorities.

(2) CONSULTATION BY SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE- In any case in which the Secretary of Agriculture participates in the World Organization for Animal Health, the Secretary of Agriculture shall confer and consult with the Secretary on any matters relating to prevention of wildlife diseases that may threaten the United States.

 

SEC. 11. PROHIBITIONS.

(a) Prohibitions- Except as provided in this section or section 12, it shall be unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States–

(1) to import into the United States any nonnative wildlife taxon the Director has designated as Injurious I or Injurious II under section 5(a)(1)(A) or under section 6, or to knowingly possess such an animal, or the descendant of such an animal, that was imported in violation of this subsection;

(2) to engage in interstate commerce for any nonnative wildlife taxon described in paragraph (1), or to knowingly possess such an animal, or the descendant of an animal, that was transported in interstate commerce in violation of this subsection;

(3) to violate any term or condition of a permit issued to a qualified institution under section 12 for a taxon designated as Injurious I under clause (i) of section 5(a)(1)(A) or under section 6;

(4) to release into the wild any nonnative wildlife taxon described in paragraph (1);

(5) to violate any additional regulation promulgated by the Secretary as necessary to prevent the importation of, and interstate commerce in, wildlife pathogens and harmful parasites under this Act; or

(6) to attempt any of the prohibited actions described in paragraphs (1) through (5).

(b) Exemption for Interstate Transportation of Animals of Later-Regulated Taxa-

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), an individual animal that was lawfully owned prior to the taxa to which the animal belongs being regulated by the Director under this Act as Injurious II may be transported interstate without a permit by any person for noncommercial purposes only.

(2) EXCEPTION- The exemption under paragraph (1) does not apply to an animal of any taxa designated by the Director as Injurious I.

(c) Limitation on Application-

(1) IN GENERAL- The prohibitions in this section shall not apply to–

(A) any action by Federal, State, tribal, or local law enforcement personnel to enforce this section; and

(B) any action by Federal, State, tribal, or local officials to prevent the introduction or establishment of nonnative wildlife, or wildlife pathogens or parasites, including actions to transport, hold, and shelter animals of taxa regulated under this Act.

(2) IMPORTATION AND TRANSPORTATION BY FEDERAL AGENCIES- Nothing in this Act shall restrict the importation or transportation between any States of nonnative wildlife by a Federal agency for the use of the Federal agency if the nonnative wildlife remains in the possession of a Federal agency.

(d) Effective Date- This section takes effect on the date that is 30 days after the date of promulgation of the final regulations under section 5(a).

 

SEC. 12. PERMITS AND EXEMPTIONS FOR QUALIFIED INSTITUTIONS AND LIVE ANIMAL TRANSPORTERS.

(a) Permits- The Director may issue to a qualified institution a permit authorizing any of the actions otherwise prohibited under section 11 for any wildlife taxon designated under clause (i) or (ii) of section 5(a)(1)(A) or under section 6.

(b) Terms and Conditions- The Director may include in a permit under subsection (a) terms and conditions to minimize the risk of introduction or establishment of nonnative wildlife, pathogens, and parasites in the United States.

(c) Exemption and Reporting-

(1) IN GENERAL- No permit shall be required for any qualified institution or any live animal transportation company or other live animal transporter that is in temporary possession of an animal delivering it to, or transporting it from, a qualified institution, to import or transport (on an interstate or intrastate basis), or possess or breed, any taxon that the Director has designated as an Injurious II taxon under section 5(a)(1)(A)(ii).

(2) DISPLAY EXEMPTION- No permit shall be required for the import, interstate or intrastate transportation, possession, or breeding of an Injurious I taxon by a qualified zoo or aquarium institution.

(3) EXCLUSIONS- The exemptions described in paragraphs (1) and (2) do not include the transfer of ownership of an Injurious I taxon or the transfer of ownership of an Injurious II taxon to any person or entity other than to another qualified institution.

(4) RECORD- Each qualified institution or live animal transporter that imports, transports (on an interstate or intrastate basis), possesses, or breeds any taxa designated as Injurious I or II shall maintain records, subject to annual inspection by the Director, at the discretion of the Director, that summarize the transactions of the qualified institution or live animal transporter for the covered taxa.

(d) Regulations; List of Qualified Institutions- The Secretary shall–

(1) promulgate regulations to implement this section; and

(2) maintain a current roster of designated qualified institutions on a publicly available Federal Internet site and through other appropriate means.

(e) Report- Not later than March 1 of each year, a qualified zoo or aquarium shall submit to the Director a report on the imports, interstate or intrastate transportation, possession, or breeding of any Injurious I taxon by the qualified zoo or aquarium for the preceding calendar year.

 

SEC. 13. USER FEES.

(a) Definition of Live Wildlife Shipments- In this section, the term ‘live wildlife shipment’ does not include shipments made by qualified institutions for scientific, veterinary, or medical research, medical research, education, conservation outreach, or display purposes.

(b) Reasonable Fee- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall propose, and subsequently adopt, by regulation, a reasonable fee to be charged on imported live wildlife shipments for use in recovering a portion of the costs of–

(1) improving the information available on the importation and interstate commerce trade of wildlife;

(2) monitoring that information under section 7;

(3) conducting risk assessments and risk analyses for nonnative wildlife taxa in that trade under sections 4 and 5;

(4) making emergency designations under section 6; and

(5) preventing wildlife pathogens and parasites under section 10.

(c) Cost Recovery Purpose- The purpose of the user fees in this section shall be to recover approximately 75 percent of the costs to the Director for the services listed in subsection (b), after such date as the user fee regulation under subsection (b) is fully implemented and the amounts of the fees received have been appropriated to the Injurious Wildlife Prevention Fund pursuant to section 16(b)(2)(A) for at least one full fiscal year.

(d) Fee Limit-

(1) IN GENERAL- The amount of the additional fee to be charged on any live wildlife shipment under this section shall be set by the Secretary only after fully considering public comments on the proposed fee regulation and it shall be charged broadly and fairly across the live wildlife import industry and at the lowest level feasible to achieve the cost recovery purpose in subsection (c).

(2) ANNUAL TOTAL FEE REVENUE- The fees shall be set so that the annual total fee revenue shall not exceed the amount of the annual total fee revenue of the fee charged by the Director under the inspection program of the Director to oversee the importation of live wildlife carried out pursuant to–

(A) section 11(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1540(f));

(B) subpart I of part 14 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations); and

(C) other applicable authority.

 

SEC. 14. RELATIONSHIP TO STATE LAW.

(a) Possession of Lawfully Obtained Injurious Wildlife Taxa- Possession of lawfully obtained injurious wildlife taxa within a State shall–

(1) be a matter of State law; and

(2)(A) not be federally regulated; or

(B) not require a Federal permit under this Act.

(b) Regulations and Determinations- Except as provided in subsection (c), nothing in this Act, or in the regulations and determinations to be promulgated or issued by the Secretary or the Director under this Act, preempts or otherwise affects the application of any State law that establishes more stringent requirements for–

(1) the importation, transportation, possession, sale, purchase, release, breeding of, or bartering for, or any other transaction involving, any nonnative wildlife taxon; or

(2) the prevention of wildlife pathogens and harmful parasites.

(c) Limitation on Application of Prohibitions To Prevent Release- The Director may limit the application of this Act to facilitate implementation of any State, local, or tribal program that results in voluntary surrender of regulated nonnative wildlife, if the Director determines that the limitation will prevent the release of that wildlife.

 

SEC. 15. PENALTIES AND SANCTIONS.

(a) Civil Penalties-

(1) CIVIL ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES-

(A) IN GENERAL- Any person who is found by the Secretary, after notice and opportunity for a hearing conducted in accordance with section 554 of title 5, United States Code, to have committed any act prohibited by section 11 shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each violation.

(B) SUBPOENA POWER- For the purposes of conducting any investigation or hearing under this Act, the Secretary may–

(i) issue subpoenas for the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of relevant papers, books, and documents; and

(ii) administer oaths.

(2) CIVIL JUDICIAL PENALTIES- Any person who violates any provision of this Act, or any regulation promulgated or permit issued under this Act, shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $500 for each such violation.

(b) Criminal Offenses- Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this Act, or any regulation promulgated or permit issued under this Act, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

(c) Natural Resource Damages- All costs relating to the mitigation of injury caused by a violation of this Act shall be borne by the person that violated this Act.

(d) Enforcement-

(1) OTHER POWERS AND AUTHORITIES- Any person authorized by the Secretary to enforce this Act shall have the same authorities as are described in section 6 of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 (16 U.S.C. 3375).

(2) FORFEITURE-

(A) IN GENERAL- A person who is determined to have violated any provision of this Act shall forfeit to the United States–

(i) any property, real or personal, taken or retained in connection with or as a result of the offense; and

(ii) any property, real or personal, used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of the offense.

(B) DISPOSAL OF PROPERTY- Upon the forfeiture to the United States of any property or item described in clause (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (A), or upon the abandonment or waiver of any claim to any such property or item, the property or item shall be disposed of by the Secretary in a manner consistent with the purpose of this Act.

(e) Application of Customs Laws- All powers, rights, and duties conferred or imposed by the customs laws upon any officer or employee of the Customs Service may, for the purpose of this Act, be exercised or performed by the Secretary, or by such officers or employees of the United States as the Secretary may designate.

 

SEC. 16. INJURIOUS WILDLIFE PREVENTION FUND.

(a) Establishment- There is established in the Treasury of the United States a Fund, to be known as the ‘Injurious Wildlife Prevention Fund’, to be administered by the Secretary, and to be available without fiscal year limitation and subject to appropriation, for use in accordance with subsection (c).

(b) Transfers to Fund-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Fund shall consist of such amounts as are appropriated to the Fund under paragraph (2).

(2) FEES AND PENALTIES- There are appropriated to the Fund, out of funds of the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, amounts equivalent to amounts collected–

(A) as user fees and received in the Treasury under section 13(a);

(B) as civil administrative or judicial penalties under section 15; and

(C) as a civil penalty for any violation of section 42 of title 18, United States Code (including a regulation promulgated under that section).

(c) Use of Funds-

(1) IN GENERAL- Of the amounts deposited in the Fund for a fiscal year–

(A) 75 percent shall be available to the Secretary for use in carrying out this Act (other than paragraph (2)); and

(B) 25 percent shall be used by the Secretary to carry out paragraph (2).

(2) AID FOR STATE WILDLIFE RISK ASSESSMENTS-

(A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall establish a program to provide natural resource assistance grants to States for use in supporting best practices and capacity-building by States, consistent with the purpose of this Act, for–

(i) inspecting and monitoring wildlife imports and interstate commerce; and

(ii) conducting assessments of risk associated with the intentional importation of nonnative wildlife taxa.

(B) ADMINISTRATION- The program under this paragraph shall be administered by the Director under the Federal Aid to States program of the Director.

(d) Prohibition- Amounts in the Fund may not be made available for any purpose other than a purpose described in subsection (c).

(e) Annual Reports-

(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 60 days after the end of each fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2014, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate, and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives a report on the operation of the Fund during the fiscal year.

(2) CONTENTS- Each report shall include, for the fiscal year covered by the report, the following:

(A) A statement of the amounts deposited in the Fund.

(B) A description of the expenditures made from the Fund for the fiscal year, including the purpose of the expenditures.

(C) Recommendations for additional authorities to fulfill the purpose of the Fund.

(D) A statement of the balance remaining in the Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

(f) Separate Appropriations Account- Section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, is amended–

(1) by redesignating paragraphs (35) and (36) as paragraphs (36) and (37), respectively;

(2) by redesignating the second paragraph (33) (relating to obligational authority and outlays requested for homeland security) as paragraph (35); and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

‘(38) a separate statement for the Injurious Wildlife Prevention Fund established by section 16(a) of the Invasive Wildlife Prevention Act of 2012, which shall include the estimated amount of deposits in the Fund, obligations, and outlays from the Fund.’.

 

SEC. 17. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER FEDERAL LAWS.

Nothing in this Act–

(1) repeals, supersedes, or modifies any provision of–

(A) the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.);

(B) the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.);

(C) the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.); or

(D) the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.); or

(2) authorizes any action with respect to the importation of any plant pest, including a biological control agent, under the Federal Plant Pest Act (7 U.S.C. 150aa et seq.), to the extent that the importation is subject to regulation under that Act.

 

SEC. 18. REQUIREMENT TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS.

In addition to regulations required under section 5 and other provisions of this Act, the Secretary shall promulgate such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act.

33 thoughts on “H.R. 996: Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act (HR669 Re-write)”

  1. THE GOOD, THE BAD (BAN), and the UGLY!!!

    No, I’m not talking about the 1966 classic starring Clint Eastwood. What I’m referring to is the way that society is manipulated by certain” Groups” through “Leaders” in our community. These leaders can be anyone from parents, teachers, judges, legislative officials, or organizations. You see, ALL of us have an opinion about something, and ALL of us at some point in time would like to see our opinion affect change. Hopefully, that change is a “Meet in the Middle” result that all involved can be proud of, and mutually agree on. However, how many times does that actually happen?
    For example, just recently the mayor (Leader) in New York City, with the help of the Board of Health (Group), has passed a “BAN” on soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. The effect will be felt by restaurants, fast-food establishments, movie theaters, and even sports stadiums. It appears to me that although the “Intention” is a good one, the result is far from fair. Why should one individual’s freedom of choice be taken away just because another individual makes a bad one? Based on that logic, when a bank is robbed everyone inside at that time should be sent to jail!! After all, they let it happen and they caused it by putting their money in the bank. Maybe those leaders and groups should “BAN” people from using banks and have them bury it in cans in the backyard. According to their logic, this would stop all of the bank robberies, right? Is that really a solution, or just a narrow minded “quick fix” to a more complex problem?
    Now it’s happening in your “backyard”!!! “Leaders” and “groups” in your community are making arbitrary decisions on your behalf based on an “individuals” poor decision, and most of you haven’t heard about it. Well, that’s why I’m here. Most of you reading this have pets, or may have at one time. Even those of you considering adding a “new member” to the family better listen up, or better yet, Speak Up!!! Legislation is getting ready to be passed that opens the door for certain “leaders” and “groups” to have “ABSOLUTE” control over what you can call a pet!! Not only does it allow them to “TELL YOU” what you “CAN” or “CAN’T” have, but it allows them to force you to pay “Outrageous Annual Fees”, and submit to “Random Inspections” of your home and private property!! They can even force you to get “approval from your neighbors before you can continue to keep your existing pets, or acquire new ones”!!! These groups, leaders, and representatives would like you to believe that only “certain” pet owners with a certain type of “pet” will be held to this new set of rules. However, I have seen the “LIST” that they will slowly work to “slip by” the public in later pieces of legislation. So I say to you now, “IF YOU ARE, HAVE BEEN, or MAY BECOME A LOVER OF DOGS, CATS, RABBITS, BIRDS, SNAKES, TURTLES, GERBILS, HAMSTERS, FISH, LIZARDS, etc….YOU NEED TO SPEAK NOW AND SPEAK OFTEN!!!” It is so easy to be heard now, and it takes very little time and effort. Most of you out there are “experts” on Facebook, e-mail, and text messaging. Communication is the key, and it only takes a few minutes. Just send an e-mail to your mayor, senator, congressman, or governor. THE MORE YOU SPEAK UP, THE MORE YOU ARE HEARD!!!
    In conclusion, I don’t want anyone reading this to think I’m against regulations that ensure the safety and proper care for animals. I also don’t want you to think that I’m against “owners” being held “accountable”. It is this writers’ opinion that “Leaders” and “Groups”, most of which have NO “knowledge” or “experience” on the subject at hand, should NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE “ABSOLUTE CONTROL” OVER WHAT YOU AND I ARE CAPABLE OF DECIDING FOR OURSELVES!!! There are a lot of good people out there with the ability to allow an animal to live a long, healthy, and happy life. Why not let them do what they do best?
    Sincerely,
    Anonymous Animal Lover

  2. alot of animals that currently reside here in the US are not native to this land. there are many breeds of horses, cats, dogs, fish, livestock, reptiles, and more. there are also alot of plants and trees ( lets ban them). fruit and vegetables also not native to the US ( lets ban them too). a lot of spices not native to the US there’s a lot of cloth that aren’t as well. if u wanna go even further .. the USA was First populated by people that ARE NOT NATIVE OF the USA. how dare someone sitting up on their high horse tell anyone what they can and can not have as a PET. as long as they are well taken care of i do not see the problem here. why do people on capitol hill ASSUME they know what the country as a whole wants? did anyone ever bother to ask us? i do not remember anyone coming to me nor a questionnaire being sent out . how about instead of u wasting the tax payers money on stuff like this.. you use it and YOUR PAY CHECKS to bring our troops home. or feed the thousands of hungry people right here in the US. or find and give homes to the homeless HERE IN THE US… do you not think that is a better use of your time?? than telling people what they are allowed to have as pets.. seriously.. very disappointed!

    1. I have several exotic animals and they are all well taken care of such as sugar gliders and hedgehogs. In fact they are spoiled rotten . I dont think anyone should be allowed to tell someone waht animals they can and can not have as a pet. As long as their animal is being well taken care of they should be able to have it.

  3. I own birds and dogs. I will fight for my rights as an American to keep what I have. I will fight to formy rights to buy any animal I want. Within reason and state law says I can own. I am getting sick and tired of the Government telling us what we can and cannot do. I feel this country is turning into a Communist country. Our rights are being taking away and that is not right.

    1. Cynthia you are totally correct. If law abiding citizens don’t stand up and start fighting for our rights, we soon sadly won’t have any.

  4. This bill will dramatically effect my family. We have 6 different species of exotic birds, sugar gliders, chinchilla,3 lizards 3 types of snakes. We love them all as family. I really couldn’t see my kids as adults without 1 or more of these types of pets, but with this bill that will not happen. All of this is brought on because of irresponsible pet owners that has released their pets into the wild other than finding a rescue for that animal. So the government wants to punish all of us pet owners for the actions of the bad ones. That is like the gun control they are trying to pass because of the crazy people doing mass shootings and criminals. All this is going to cause is a black market for these animals and then they will get into some really bad hands where they won’t get the proper care and attention they need from people including veterinarian care to make sure they don’t have any diseases that can be transmitted to other animals or humans. I am so sick of this I hear it on the state level and now the federal level. What in the hell did most of my family fight for when they was in the military?Sure the hell not for freedom because the government is slowly taking that away from us.It seems now a days it is you can’t do this and you can’t have this because the government has said that you can’t. My family will fight this every step of the way.

    Sincerely
    Jessica Hensley and Family.

  5. PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS PASS, YOU WILL CAUSE A DETRIMENTAL EFFECT ON CAPTIVE BORN AND BRED ANIMALS THAT WILL DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD! YOU CAN SEE WHAT A NEGATIVE EFFECT CREATING MORE LAWS HAS DONE…NOTHING, PEOPLE ARE STILL TRAFFICKING EXOTIC SPECIES ILLEGALLY MAKING MORE LAWS WILL NOT STOP THIS, NOT TO MENTION THE HUNDREDS OF BUSINESSES THAT BUY AND SELL ANIMALS THAT ARE ACTIVE IN THE PRESERVATION AND REHABILITATION OF MANY SPECIES OF ANIMALS WITHOUT SUCH EFFORTS MANY ANIMALS WOULD IN FACT BECOME EXTINCT. ANYONE THAT AGREES WITH THIS HAS NO CARE FOR ANIMALS OR THE PEOPLE THAT RAISE THEM!

  6. So what you are trying to do or gonna do is take our pets away from us and fine us for having pets from othere country’s ? Why is that? Seems to me it’s a nother way for th govt to run our lives and live the way you want us to.
    You Do NOT HAVE the Rigjt to tell us the citizens of this country what we can or can not have as pets with the exception of I dangered species.
    You are wrong for doing this. If the animals are born / hatch in this country then that would make them apart of it would it not?
    A friend of mine brout this to my at tenchin with fear that you people are going to take out parrots away. I do beleave you people need to think twice before doing so . We voted you in office and we can and will vote you our. Sencerly a Parrot lover
    Rollie L Berry

  7. PLEASE do NO go forward with this bill, proposition or whatever it is!!!!!!!!!!! I am disabled and my pet snakes keep me from going insane. I have borderline personality disorder, and have a legal perscription for them as SERVICE ANIMALS!!!!! and plus its JUST WRONG!!! WHY!? WHY are you considering this???? FACT: more people die from PEN LIDS every year that snake bites or reptiles of ANY kind. I want to know your reasoning for this. Seems like a CRUEL waste of money to me!!!!

  8. oops*-CHOKING on pen lids, or being crushed by vending machines!!! Pretty dumb, eh? Makes fear of reptiles look pretty DUMB. Fear your soda, not your snake. Why not pass a law against chewing on pen caps????

  9. Dear government.
    I understand the need to control imported and non- native species as I am currently studying in the Wildlife Management field at SUNY Cobleskill. However I see this bill doing far more bad than good. Many businesses will end up closing, and like noted on a few other replies it is highly likely that illegal import and exports of these animals will persist if this bill is passed.

    I have six reptiles currently five natives and one believed to have been imported from Africa at some point. I won’t be giving up my reptiles without a fight. I love each and every one of them and I do not want to see them taken away just to be shoved into zoo’s who will have no place to put them. There are so many reptiles owners out there and pets that there will not be enough room animals taken by seizure in places like zoo’s and educational centers. You’ll end up killing all of these animals that you won’t find homes for.

    I agree that we can come in the middle with this problem. Having snake owners document and place their reptiles on some snake file perhaps that the government can keep records of. So you know where these animals are or where they are going. If the snakes of health issues or if they escape. On that topic, escapees, I believe it is more adequate housing of the reptiles that is to blame and irresponsible owners. However many of us DO keep our reptiles in locked or in adequate terrariums. In my years of keeping snakes I have never had one get out.

    Perhaps careful records of snake is the way to go? And for the few larger or more dangerous species keep careful eye on their owners. Maybe a yearly or even monthly check on the reptiles by authorities. It would allow us to keep our animals and still let government know what’s going on.

    As for other animals like non-native mammals, birds, and amphibians. I believe that you run into the same problem. Common pet species should be allowed but maybe checked on yearly.

    Anyways. I’ve rambled on enough. Please read through everyone’s concerns and listen to the people. I don’t want my right to own my animals be taken away.

    Sincerely, Terra-Anne Bacon
    State University of New Yorks college of Cobleskill
    TribalCorns reptile caretaker

  10. I hope this does not pass i would hate to give up a family member my african grey parrot who is really is a part of our daily life . we get so much enjoyment from her . it would be sad that many people would have to sacrifice there pets for this

  11. This is not acceptable. I will fight for my birds and not give them up. If you are going to ban all of the non American animals then ban all of the non American food, cloths, oil, toys, building materials, and everything else that is made out of the states and brought here. Instead of wasting money on this nonsense use it to take care of our Veterans, social security for the elderly that have worked there butts off for years and deserve to retire. Stop doing senseless things and start doing something productive to get this country back were it needs to be.

  12. At the November 2012 monthly luncheon of the Naples Press Club in Naples, Fla., David Tetzlaff shared a realistic view of the alleged “invasion of pythons” in the Everglades. David Tetzlaff is in the family line as the developers of the Naples Zoo and Caribbean Gardens and was serving as the Director at the time of his presentation, although he had given his notice to move to a position as Vice President of Zoological Operations at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Sanford. If I may paraphrase from notes that were taken several months ago: He explained that the media’s sensationalization of python sightings in the Everglades is nothing more than a good way to improve ratings. It would truly be a shame to have citizens’ rights trampled because the mainstream media needed to trump up an imaginary problem to sell more ad spots between stories.

  13. The *only* excluded birds are chickens, ducks, geese, and… the canary-?! Proposed for existing populations of non excluded “invasive” species”: FORFEITURE and DISPOSAL. Birdkeepers had been concerned about the effect of yet-to-be establisheded AWA regs for birds. That issue will become moot if H.R. 996 passes as written: there will not be any pet birds (other than canaries.)

    1. Kathleen, and the sad thing is that the USHS says that keeping parrots is inhumane. I think killing them or what ever else they have in mind for them is much worse than what is currently their fate.

  14. This is crazy… I understand banning importing exotic animals… but what happens to the breeders, specialized vets, ect…. I am all about protecting species as a parrot owner myself. I hear all the time how cruel they capture them… but there are good breeders out there and responsible pet owners. I’ve had birds my whole life & never lost one nor had a neighbor complain. My birds are free flighted to & have it better than me probably. I understand making stricter guild lines and ban on importing but strictly banning ownership. I rescued my parrots and gave them the best life in captivity…. I also could understand some kind of guidelines to owning exotics as to not release and be will kept… like registering them… but this is a little over board & will be like guns and any other law. People will sneak around and just do it worse, get more to sell illegal or something of the sort. There’s no way I would let you take them… they are my kids. And same goes with other ideas, no one would rescue dogs & cats and it could be bad… I’m for protecting wildlife & making precautions to prevent introduction of exotics…. but there’s got to be a middle ground. Are they going to go to everyone’s home and take their animal… good luck taking my 3 birds 2 have very large beaks and very protective…. you might loose a finger….

  15. Punish the people who let their animals “free” into the wild. There are more people who are responsible than the ones who can no longer take care of their pets and let them go. Most end up dying in the wild. And if they do survive, natural selection will take its course.

  16. Ridiculous. I know so many people who are going to be affected by this utter nonsense.

    But also, is no-one going to point out the hilarity of this woman’s name? “Slaughter”? It’s like she fell out of a Dickens novel.

  17. this is insane. i can understand that animals that can potentially cause harm like tigers, bears, ect should NOT be pets. but parrots and other exotic animals are bred here in the US and sold to pet stores and other buyers. taking peoples beloved animals is wrong. this isnt right. rather than taking this out on responsible people, perhaps you should go after people who smuggle animals, poach animals and abuse animals. this bill is gonna cause so much chaos and more harm than it will good. i read the bill this morning and the part that says that animals not listed will be disposed of and killed. what is the sense in that?! taking peoples animals, and killing them. thats not right. one would think the govt has bigger issues at hand, rather than making plans to disrupt hundreds; if not thousands of families. this is shameful. i really hope this does not pass. i dont like seeing parrots in small cages at pet stores anymore than anyone else. but this is not the way to make a difference. this is a way to make it worse

  18. They’re not just pets you’re talking about they’re family and if you think for one minute you can do this try, come on my property and see what happens.

  19. this is why america is making my sick .these people are the scums of the earth and are the ones that should be taken away and killed.
    land of the free,my ass!
    this could even affect the ecosystem you fucktards.i can see clearly that these guys have no hearts and even a brain. even though i dont own any animals i can see that by doing this you are like taking away a precious family member.
    dont let this bill pass,it’ll make america an even worst country.

  20. I just let my 12 year old son read this and he is just as outrage as all of us are. His words now. Ryan Hensley: this is dumb and I will not let them tear our family apart by taking our birds, snakes, lizard sugar gliders and chinchillas. I have adhd and odd and the animals help me and my big sister with Down Syndrome. I was wanting to let people know this will affect my family greatly. I will stand by my mommies side and fight this bill because I don’t want to lose my loved pets they are a part of my family. You the government are just dumb for what your trying to do to us. My mommy tells me everything about stuff like this I wanted to join the military when I got older to fight for our freedom but what is the use when the government is going to take it away.
    this is from the mind of a 12 year old so guess what Big Brother you are going to make a whole generation hate you by doing this these kids will remember this if this bill is passed they will remember who took their beloved pets from them as a child so why would they fight for a government that would do this to them and their family. Why would they go over seas and fight wars that the government says is needed to be fought. So you better think of what your going to do because no one wants to join because of your actions today.
    Sincerely
    Jessica Hensley and Ryan Hensley

  21. Such b.s.these pets and other animals arent just that. They have become family to people. Many people ( including myself ) would be affected by this being forced to get rid of them.

  22. This is horrifying. Punishment should target ONLY those who deserve it, and not attack and destroy the lives of wonderful families and breeders who take care of these animals like family. In 3 months I hope to open my home to one such pet, and I certainly hope the country I live in, who promises freedom for its citizens, does not come knocking on my door. These animals bring peace and a healthy mind to those who need them and take brilliant care of them. Children and adults alike. This is of course not to mention the many breeders and exotic veterinarians whose livelihood rests in these wonderful creatures. This reflects an ignorance of what the people ask of their government, or simply a neglect of our wishes. We do not live here in hopes of one day having our healthy, happy family members taken away from us and very likely terminated. We expect our government to protect animals from TRUE criminals, not to lazily sweep the punishment over us all. There are methods of ensuring dangerous species are being well cared for without simply taking them away from true caretakers. If I had to register my reptile and have yearly government check ups, I would understand, I would be more than willing to go through a DAY of slight inconvenience and know at the same time, some criminal is having his or her animal taken away. Those who deserve punishment can be located, and those of us who truly love our animals can be identified and heard.
    Honestly, something like what I read above… is simply appalling and heartless towards your own citizens. Do not bunch us all together under the label, irresponsible criminals. Let us care for our families.
    Sincerely,
    Martha Levytsky

  23. The bottom line is that the Federal Government and Congress have NO authority to legislate about what pets we can and cannot have. They have been OVER REACHING for years in all kinds of areas where they have NO business being.

    It’s far time this over reach of government at the expense of our individual liberties be stopped.

  24. Perhaps it doesn’t have anything to do w/ the birds, perhaps it’s just about CONTROL. People CONTROL. We are losing more freedoms and individual liberties all the time. We soon won’t have anything left.

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