The small county of Wilson in central Texas was the scene of a solid victory for herpetoculture. The US Herpetoculure Alliance provided the herpers of Wilson County with a ‘policy solution’ that ultimately reversed ordinance 1998-1 banning constricting and venomous snakes. All exotic constrictors and venomous snakes are once again legal in Wilson County, Texas.
As a local business man and Wilson County resident, Jason Royer became the face of Wilson County herpers. Jason did an exemplary job of appealing to the commissioners’ sense of fair play by clearly articulating the incongruity of the ordinance and securing a commitment to be heard on the issue at the next commissioners meeting.
Bonnie and Randall Berry helped facilitate a grass roots letter writing campaign to support the interests of Wilson County herpers. At the commissioners meeting, Jason received additional support from the expert testimony of Dr. Tim Tristan, Dave Barker and Pete Mimikos. These experts were able to dispel the misinformation that had laid the foundation for the original ordinance and provided strong scientific basis to make sound decisions going forward. The Wilson County Commissioners received the herpers well and agreed to reconsider the ordinance.
The following week, Wilson County Commissioners gave approval for the Herp Alliance to write a proposal for amending the county ordinance. The draft proposal was submitted by Jason Royer and met with general approval. The Commissioners did ask that the Herp Alliance add a clause that all Texas Parks & Wildlife ‘controlled exotic snake’ permit holders submit a copy of their permits to the Sheriff’s Department. US Herp Alliance CEO, Andrew Wyatt, requested that a vote be scheduled on the proposed amendment with the County Clerks office. Wyatt then flew to Texas to personally present the proposal and answer questions for the Wilson County Commissioners. Subsequently the Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the proposal as law in Wilson County. All exotic constrictors and venomous snakes are once again legal in Wilson County Texas.
The US Herpetoculture Alliance is the most effective advocate for the interests of herpetoculture at the local, state and federal levels.