On March 10, 2013 the US Herpetoculture Alliance reported that the Humane Society of the United States was circulating a letter to Animal Rights and Environmental advocates to put pressure on the Obama Administration to further finalize the ‘Constrictor Rule’ that was enacted in part January 23, 2012. The effort by HSUS is aimed at persuading President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to add the five constrictors snakes that were left under “consideration” after the rule was finalized in part last year. The rule has already added the Burmese python, the northern and southern African pythons, and the yellow anaconda to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. The Herp Alliance vehemently opposes the addition of the remaining five snakes still under consideration: the reticulated python, the DeSchauensee’s anaconda, the green anaconda, the Beni anaconda and the boa constrictor to the Injurious list.
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
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
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);
(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;
(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).
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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).
(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.
The Herp Alliance has been informed through reliable sources that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is petitioning President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to finalize the ‘Constrictor Rule’ that was partially enacted in January 2012. HSUS seeks to finalize the ‘Constrictor Rule’ by adding Boa constrictor, reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. If these species are added to the Injurious list they will go the way of the Burmese python; import and interstate transport will be criminalized. Tens of thousands of herpetoculturists could potentially become Lacey Act felons facing high monetary fines and prison time for transporting them across state lines.
Secretary Salazar will resign as Interior Secretary at the end of March. HSUS hopes to persuade him to finalize the ‘Constrictor Rule’ as one of his final acts as Secretary. HSUS is desperate to get Boa constrictor and reticulated python added to the Injurious list as a part of their continuing campaign to criminalize reptile ownership.
Please follow the link below to contact President Obama and voice your opposition to adding boas, reticulated pythons, or any other constrictors to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. Please do it today! Tell your friends, family and sphere of influence. The deadline is the end of March! DO IT NOW!
The US Herpetoculture Alliance has just received the “discussion draft” of the bill Senator Bill Nelson is likely to introduce in the 113th Congress, the Invasive Wildlife Protection Act. This bill was originally drafted by the Defenders of Wildlife and based on their psuedo scientific report ‘Broken Screens’ and was first introduced in 2008 by Delegate Madeleine Bordallo of Guam as HR 669.
It is important to realize that this bill has not been introduced yet. It is a “discussion draft”. Senator Nelson is circulating this draft to get recommendations and to build support to obtain co-sponsors prior to introduction. It may have changes when introduced.
Through our very reliable federal sources, the US Herpetoculture Alliance has learned that Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is likely to introduce his own version of the ‘Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act’ (HR 669 from 111th Congress) in this session.
Last year, in the 112th Congress, Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced her own version of this bill. It was known as HR 5864, the ‘Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act’. Herp Alliance’s federal sources inform us that she plans to reintroduce this bill as a companion to Senator Nelson’s bill. Either or both of these proposals spell bad news for the herpetoculture community.
According to our sources, rewrites of these bills that should be introduced in the near future will and would amend the already overused and abused Lacey Act, expediting the process by which animals may be added to the ‘Injuriuos Wildlife’ list. The approach seeks to create a list of ‘accepted’ species or ‘white list.’ White listed animals would be considered an acceptable risk level in terms of the likelihood of becoming alien invaders. By default, everything else would fall to the ‘unaccepted’ or ‘black list.’ Black listed species would be added to the ‘Injurious Wildlife’ list of the Lacey Act, prohibiting all import and interstate transport. Domesticated livestock and pets would be exempt.
Because of his high profile, and the stance he maintained on Burmese pythons, it is likely that Senator Nelson will lead the way on this issue and his bill would likely be assigned to the Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee. Representative Slaughter’s bill would likely be assigned to the House Natural Resources Committee.
The Herp Alliance opposes any bill that seeks to further corrupt the Lacey Act by using a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ approach in adding animals to the ‘Injurious Wildlife’ list. If passed into law, this ‘white list/ black list’ system to designating what is a dangerous, invasive species will effectively end herpetoculture as we know it. It is likely that only a few ‘pet trade’ herpetofauna would make the white list. The rest could be black listed on to the Injurious list.
The herp community has defeated similar legislative struggles in the past. In
2008, together we launched a massive, grass roots letter writing campaign that generated nearly 50,000 letters in opposition to HR 669. Although we were successful in defeating HR 669, we knew that a rewrite was coming. The Herp Alliance believes that time is nearly upon us. Get ready to make your voice heard. We have the intelligence, tools and talent to prevail once again. The Herp Alliance will need the help of every single person that values herpetoculture. We need to activate our grass roots army once again against one of the biggest threats we have faced to date.
This will not only affect herpetoculture, but it will effect aquaculture. It will affect those who work with birds and mammals, and anything non-native to the United States. We need to work together with all of the interests that could be destroyed by this effort to further corrupt the Lacey Act.
Please LIKE the Herp Alliance on Facebook and join our e-mail list to get all of the fastest breaking news, editorial and action alerts as they happen. Tell your family! Tell your friends!
Stay tuned. As soon as the NEW bills are released we will make them available to the Herpetoculture Community, along with our analysis and plan of action.
Senator Michael Roberson of Nevada is expected to introduce a bill today that would ban many exotic animals from the State of Nevada, including a number of popular reptiles. Senator Roberson has long been promising a ban to “out do Ohio” regarding the import, possession, sale, transfer, and breeding of “dangerous wild animals”(DWA). He has been working closely with the Humane Society of the United States, who have coined the term ‘dangerous wild animals’ aka DWI’s, to create this sweeping ban. Today is the deadline for Senator Roberson to introduce a bill into the 2013 legislative session. The bill as written would ban many reptiles, including Burmese pythons.
Below is a copy of the most recent bill draft. The bill expected to be introduced later today may be altered from this draft.
AN ACT relating to the keeping of dangerous wild animals in captivity; to prohibit the import, possession, sale, transfer, and breeding of dangerous wild animals.
The People of the State of Nevada, Represented in Senate and Assembly, Do Enact As Follows:
Chapter 504 of NRS is hereby amended by adding thereto a new Section 504.296 to read as follows:
“Dangerous wild animal” means any live individual animal held in captivity of the following scientific classifications –
Order Carnivora –
Family Canidae: captive-bred red wolves (Canis rufus) and gray wolves (Canis lupus).
Family Hyaenidae: all species of hyena and aardwolf.
Family Ursidae: Asiatic Black Bears (Ursus thibetanus), captive-bred American black bears (Ursus americanus), Brown Bears (Ursus arctos), Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus), Sloth Bears (Melursus ursinus), Sun Bears (Helarctos malayanus), Giant Panda Bears (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Spectacled Bears (Tremarctos ornatus), including hybrids thereof.
Family Procyonidae: all species.
Order Primates: all species, excluding humans.
Order Crocodylia: all species of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials.
Order Squamata –
Family Atractaspidae: all species, such as mole vipers.
Family Boidae: anacondas (Genus Eunectes), Burmese pythons (Python molurus), Northern African pythons (Python sebae), and Southern African pythons (Python natalensis).
Family Colubridae: boomslangs (Dispholidus typus), twig snakes (Genus Thelotornis).
Family Elapidae: all species, such as cobras, mambas, and coral snakes.
Family Hydrophiidae: all species, such as sea snakes.
Family Viperidae: all species, excluding rattlesnakes.
“Animal Control Agency” means a unit of a political subdivision consisting of animal control officers, as authorized by NRS Section 280.125 or other local governmental units for enforcement of the animal control laws of the city, county, and state and the shelter and welfare of animals.
“Law enforcement officer” means any state police officer, local enforcement officers (such as county sheriffs, city police, and officers of an Animal Control Agency, or any officer acting under the authority of NRS 574.040.
“Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, organization, or any other legal entity, and any officer, member, shareholder, director, employee, agent, or representative thereof.
“Wildlife Sanctuary” means a nonprofit entity that:
Operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned, or displaced animals are provided care for the lifetime of the animal;
Does not conduct any commercial activity with respect to dangerous wild animals, including, but not limited to, (i) sale, trade, auction, lease, or loan of dangerous wild animals or parts of such animals, or (ii) use of dangerous wild animals in any manner in a for-profit business or operation;
Does not use dangerous wild animals for entertainment purposes or in a traveling exhibit;
Does not breed any dangerous wild animals; and
Does not allow members of the public the opportunity to come into direct contact with dangerous wild animals.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law and unless exempted herein, it shall be unlawful for any person to import, possess, sell, transfer, or breed a dangerous wild animal.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be unlawful for any person to allow any member of the public to come into direct contact with a dangerous wild animal.
The prohibitions in Subsection II(A) shall not apply to:
Institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), certified related facilities that coordinate with an AZA Species Survival Plan for breeding of species listed as threatened or endangered pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1533, or facilities that are actively seeking accreditation or certification by the AZA that have a letter of understanding with a mentor institution that is renewed annually.
Research facilities, as defined in the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2132(e)).
Wildlife sanctuaries, as defined in Subsection I(E).
Duly incorporated nonprofit animal protection organizations, such as humane societies and shelters, temporarily housing a dangerous wild animal at the written request of the animal control agency acting under the authority of this Section;
Licensed veterinarians for the purpose of providing treatment to a dangerous wild animal.
Law enforcement officers for purposes of enforcement.
Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens, agents, or employees for purposes of enforcement.
A person temporarily transporting a legally owned dangerous wild animal through the State if the transit time is not more than 48 hours, the dangerous wild animal is not exhibited, and the dangerous wild animal is maintained at all times in a species-appropriate cage or other travel container.
Circuses, defined as exhibitors holding a Class C license under the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq., as amended, that:
Are temporarily in the state for less than 90 days per year;
Regularly conduct performances featuring live dangerous wild animals and multiple trained human entertainers, including clowns and acrobats; and
Do not allow members of the public to be in proximity to dangerous wild animals without sufficient distance and protective barriers, including, but not limited to, offering photographic opportunities next to dangerous wild animals of any age.
A. The prohibitions in Subsection II(A) shall not apply to any facility licensed pursuant to NRS Chapter 463 that meets the definition in NRS Section 463.01865.
B. The prohibitions in Subsection II(A) shall not apply to a Class C exhibitor licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with respect to any dangerous wild animal possessed or bred by for the purpose of fulfilling an active written contractual agreement with a facility licensed pursuant to NRS Chapter 463 that meets the definition in NRS Section 463.01865, provided that such licensed exhibitor:
Shall not have been, or employ any person who has been, convicted of or fined for an offense involving the abuse or neglect of any animal pursuant to any state, local, or federal law;
Shall not have had a license or permit regarding the care, possession, exhibition, propagation, or sale of animals revoked, suspended by, or operated in violation of any state, local, or federal agency;
Shall not have been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act for any noncompliant item within the past 3 years in which a dangerous wild animal’s health and well-being was jeopardized by: inappropriate veterinary care; inappropriate handling of animals causing stress or trauma to the animal or a threat to public safety; inappropriate provisions of food, water, shelter, or space; or any infraction cited as a direct noncompliant item;
Shall not breed or sell any dangerous wild animals, except for as necessary to fulfill an active written contractual relationship with a facility licensed pursuant to NRS Chapter 463 that meets the definition in NRS Section 463.01865;
Shall not allow members of the public to be in proximity to dangerous wild animals without sufficient distance and protective barriers, including, but not limited to, offering photographic opportunities next to dangerous wild animals of any age;
Shall maintain liability insurance in an amount of not less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars, with a deductible of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, for each occurrence of property damage, bodily injury, or death caused by any dangerous wild animals possessed by the person;
Shall have a written plan, filed with the local animal control agency for the quick and safe recapture or destruction of animals in the event a dangerous wild animal escapes, including, but not limited to, written protocols for training staff on methods of safe recapture of the escaped animal;
Shall file with the local animal control agency an annual report of all dangerous wild animals acquired and disposed of during the calendar year; and
Shall maintain documentation to verify that owner and all employees involved in animal care have a minimum of 300 hours of substantial practical experience in the care, feeding, handling, and husbandry of the dangerous wild animal possessed, or other species which are substantially similar in size, characteristics, care and nutritional requirements to the species.
Shall annually file with the local animal control agency the written contract with the facility licensed pursuant to NRS Chapter 463 that meets the definition in NRS Section 463.01865.
The prohibitions in Subsection II(A) shall not apply to persons who lawfully possessed a dangerous wild animal prior to July 1, 2013, provided that:
Such person shall maintain veterinary records, acquisition papers, or other documents or records that establish that the person possessed the animal prior to July 1, 2013;
Such person shall not acquire additional dangerous wild animals after July 1, 2013, whether by purchase, donation, or breeding;
Such person shall not have been convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect of any animal pursuant to any state, local, or federal law;
Such person shall not have had a license or permit regarding the care, possession, exhibition, breeding, or sale of animals revoked or suspended by any state, local, or federal agency;
Such person must register with, and pay a registration fee to, the local animal control agency by September 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, indicating the number of animals of each dangerous wild animal species in his or her possession, and showing proof of liability insurance in an amount of not less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars, with a deductible of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, for each occurrence of property damage, bodily injury, or death caused by any dangerous wild animal possessed by the person.
Such person allows a local animal control agency to enter the premises where the dangerous wild animal is kept at all reasonable times to ensure compliance with this Section.
At least 72 hours prior to the sale or transfer of an existing dangerous wild animal, such person must notify the animal control agency in the city or county where the person resides in writing, identifying the recipient of the animal. At all times, possession, sale, transfer, and transport of the dangerous wild animal must comply with all applicable state, local, and federal laws.
Rulemaking – A city or a county may adopt an ordinance to implement this Section upon completion of all applicable hearing and notice requirements, including, but not limited to, (i) establishing reasonable and necessary fees in amounts sufficient to cover the costs of administering and enforcing this Section, (ii) establish humane care standards, and (iii) expanding the definition of dangerous wild animal. However, such ordinances shall not amend the list of exempted entities in Subsection III.
Seizure –An animal control agent may, upon probable cause, seize any or all dangerous wild animals possessed in violation of this Section.
Upon judicial determination that (i) the seized animals are dangerous wild animals, as defined in Subsection I(A), and (ii) the owner of the seized animals has violated this Section with regard to those seized dangerous wild animals, then such dangerous wild animals seized under this Section shall be deemed forfeited.
Dangerous wild animals seized and deemed forfeited under this Subsection shall be placed in the custody and control of an institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or a wildlife sanctuary (as defined in Subsection I(E)). In the event that animal control officers, after a reasonable effort, can find no such accredited zoo or wildlife sanctuary that is willing and able to take custody and control of a seized and forfeited dangerous wild animal, that animal may be humanely euthanized in compliance with state and federal law.
Dangerous wild animals seized but not deemed forfeited under this Section shall be kept in the custody of an institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a wildlife sanctuary (as defined in Subsection I(E)), or a temporary holding facility identified in Subsection III(A)(4), until disposition of the seized dangerous wild animals. Nothing in this Subsection precludes an animal control officer from impounding a dangerous wild animal on the owner’s property until an AZA-accredited zoo or wildlife sanctuary is located for placement.
The accredited zoo, wildlife sanctuary, or temporary holding facility having custody of the dangerous wild animal (or an animal control agency that has impounded a dangerous wild animal) may file a petition with the court requesting that the person from whom the dangerous wild animal was seized, or the owner of the dangerous wild animal, be ordered to post security. The security must be in an amount sufficient to secure payment of all reasonable expenses expected to be incurred by the accredited zoo, wildlife sanctuary, temporary holding facility, or animal control agency, in caring for and providing for the dangerous wild animal pending the disposition of the animal. Reasonable expenses include, but are not limited to, estimated medical care and boarding of the dangerous wild animal pending disposition. The amount of the security shall be determined by the court after taking into consideration all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including, but not limited to, the recommendation of the impounding organization or animal control agency having custody and care of the seized dangerous wild animal and the cost of caring for the dangerous wild animal. If security has been posted in accordance with this Subsection, the accredited zoo, wildlife sanctuary, temporary holding facility, or animal control agency may draw from the security the actual costs incurred in caring for the seized or impounded dangerous wild animal.
Upon receipt of a petition, the court must set a hearing on the petition, to be conducted within 5 business days after the petition is filed. The petitioner must serve a true copy of the petition upon the owner of the dangerous wild animal and the entity that seized the dangerous wild animal. The petitioner must also serve a true copy of the petition on any interested person. For the purposes of this Subsection, “interested person” means an individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity that the court determines may have a pecuniary interest in the animal that is the subject of the petition. The court must set a hearing date to determine any interested parties.
If the court orders the posting of security, the security must be posted with the clerk of the court within 5 business days after the hearing. If the person ordered to post security does not do so, the dangerous wild animal is deemed forfeited by operation of law and the accredited zoo, wildlife sanctuary, temporary holding facility, or animal control agency having custody of the dangerous wild animal shall have legal custody and control over the dangerous wild animal.
Upon judicial determination on the disposition of the seized dangerous wild animal, the person who posted the security is entitled to a refund of the security for any expenses not incurred by the impounding organization or animal control agency.
Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prevent the voluntary, permanent relinquishment of any dangerous wild animal to an institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or a wildlife sanctuary (as defined in Subsection I(E)) in lieu of posting security. Voluntary relinquishment shall have no effect on any criminal charges that may be pursued by the appropriate authorities.
If any dangerous wild animal escapes or is released, either intentionally or unintentionally, the owner of the dangerous wild animal shall immediately contact the local animal control agency to report the escape or release. The owner is liable for all expenses associated with efforts to recapture the animal.
Each violation of this Section, and any rules or laws promulgated pursuant to this Section, is guilty of a misdemeanor, including confinement in jail for not more than 6 months and/or a fine not more than $1,000.
Each violation of Section VI resulting in the animal running loose, causing property damage, or attacking a human being, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor, including confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and/or a fine of not more than $2,000.
VII Additional Local Restrictions Authorized
Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prohibit a city or county from adopting or enforcing any rule or law that places further restrictions or additional requirements on the possession, sale, transfer, breeding, or exhibition of dangerous wild animals.
This afternoon the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) released the long awaited Dangerous Animal Initiative (DAI) Final Report. In the wake of the Zanesville, Ohio, exotic animal release, Virginia Governor McDonnell asked the VDGIF to review existing regulations and make recommendations as to whether additional oversight was necessary to protect public safety in Virginia.
VDGIF contracted with the University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation to facilitate a workgroup of stakeholders to produce a report on exotic animals and public safety considerations in Virginia that would make consensus recommendations to the Governor on whether additional regulations were needed. The Virginia DAI work group met repeatedly between September and November. Consensus was reached in a number of areas. A draft report was circulated in December.
Today the Final Report was released by DGIF. Other than Komodo Dragons, and crocodilians that were already restricted, no reptiles were included as a part of the consensus recommendations to Governor McDonnell.
Andrew Wyatt, CEO and President of the Herp Alliance, Jared Watts, and Larry Mendoza of the Virginia Herpetological Society, were voting members of the DAI work group. Other members included Feld Entertainment, AZA, Busch Gardens, various zoos, private keepers, the Humane Society of the United States, and the pet industry.
The pro-reptile alliance on the work group was successful in keeping reptiles out of consideration as dangerous animals on the grounds that statistics and history have shown that reptiles pose virtually zero public safety threat in Virginia. Delegate Chris Peace also participated and made it clear that he would introduce a bill reflecting the recommendations of the DAI work group.
Last year companion bills were introduced in the Virginia House and Senate to restrict the ownership of a broad range of exotic animals; including many species of reptiles. Delegate Chris Peace introduced HB 1242, and Senator Louise Lucas introduced SB 477. Both bills were poorly written and displayed limited understanding of what actually poses a public risk in Virginia. After being challenged by Wyatt, as well as an organized cadre of Virginia stakeholders led by Watts, both bills were tabled for the session.
Now both bills have been reactivated for the 2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly, and could potentially be heard by the House and Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees.
The Herp Alliance has tried repeatedly to contact both Delegate Peace and
Senator Lucas to inquire as to their intentions regarding HB 1242 and SB 477. After two weeks of inquiries, there has yet been a response from either office. Herp Alliance believes that Delegate Peace will in fact take some kind of action on this issue now that the DAI Final Report has been released. We are worried at his lack of response and hope that whatever he proposes is in line with the DAI recommendations to the Governor. Hopefully his office will be forthcoming in the near future.
In the meantime, it is important that the Herp Nation prepare to address this issue in case a bill is introduced that does not follow the DAI recommendations. The Herp Alliance will strongly oppose a bill that goes against the recommendations of the DAI work group that would seek to add any reptiles based on fear, cultural bias and antiquated stereotypes. The Herp Alliance represents the Future of Herpetoculture as a 21st Century agricultural pursuit producing high quality captive bred reptiles for zoos, science, medicine and business. The herpetoculture community represents approximately $20 million per year in revenues for the State of Virginia. Thousands of Virginia citizens depend on herpetoculture for all or part of their income.
Please take action to secure the future of herpetoculture in Virginia. Our grass roots muscle is one of our most powerful assets. Jared Watts will be leading a lobbying day in Richmond on Wednesday 2/13/13 beginning at 8AM. Please try to attend if you can. You can reach Jared at email@example.com.
Stay tuned to the Herp Alliance for breaking developments in Virginia. Follow us on Facebook and get on our mailing list for the most timely herpetoculture news and opinion available anywhere. The Herp Alliance is working for you and the Future of Herpetoculture!
Herpetoculture is the science and practice of producing and keeping high quality captive bred herpetofauna (reptiles & amphibians). Employing sophisticated equipment and superior animal husbandry techniques, the American reptile community had produce and continues to produce valuable herpetofauna. Some specimens have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Herpetoculture has grown to be a $1.4 billion cottage industry in the United States.
These healthy and robust animals are used in zoos, museum exhibits, research, education, entertainment and in people’s homes living as pets. Captive bred herpetofauna are a far superior choice compared to the mass import of sickly, wild caught animals taken from their natural habitats. With genetically diverse populations of many herptiles already well established over the the last 40 years, the demand for wild caught imports has dwindled significantly.
The value of herpetoculture to conservation is beyond significant. Captive production of healthy animals reduces demand for wild caught imported specimens by collectors, zoos and museums. Surplus animals can be used for advancements in the science of genetics and medicine.
Captive breeding for conservation of endangered species has actually become a conservation “safety net” for animals that may soon disappear in their native range. The value of herpetoculture to conservation has been proven and is now widely accepted practice in the scientific community.
The Herp Alliance is working toward a growing, dynamic future for herpetoculture.
A new legislative season has begun and HSUS has relentlessly been trying to leverage the tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio into legislative proposals across the country. Herp Alliance has been working hard as well We engage early in the process, often before bills ever get introduced. We will hold our ground. However, the most important element in our formula for success is our grass roots muscle. I am talking about all of the people out there in the Herp Nation that take action when it’ is necessary. I am talking about you.
We are not interested in piece-mealing away the herpetoculture community until there is nothing left. We won’t give up boas and pythons in Connecticut, nor venomous snakes in Virginia. And we certainly won’t give anything more in New York! We are all in this together. Herpetoculture is what we love.
It is time for us all to put aside our differences and work together to overcome what is sure to be some of our greatest battles. I fear that 2013 will be one of the most difficult years that herpetoculture has ever faced. We already know bills have been introduced in CT, NJ and NY. We also know that some of the bills from last year are still active in VA and IL. Nevada Senator Michael Roberson is promising to out-do Ohio.There will be others to come possibly in IN, MO, PA, WI and WV. If we don’t pull together now we could lose our ability to work with the animals we love.
The Herp Alliance is asking you to join this fight. Together we have done great things in
the past. We can win these battles if we work together. We have an even better legislative team now than we have ever had. We are experienced, savvy and most of all, successful! With the grass roots army that we have built together over the last 5 years you can determine your own future. The Herp Alliance has the tools and personnel to help you meet the challenges of the most critical time in the history of herpetoculture. Don’t give up. Get in the fight. Take positive action today to secure the future of herpetoculture.
You can read about the new legislation in New York and Connecticut at www.HerpAlliance.com. You will also find information on New Jersey and federal issues.
By Andrew Wyatt– CEO of the US Herpetoculture Alliance, Inc
“Working for the Future of Herpetoculture”
The US Herpetoculture Alliance is calling for closer scrutiny for an already broken and out of control bureaucratic process in our federal government.
Yesterday, Senator David Vitter Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, along with 23 additional Senators from both parties, sent a letter to the Obama administration questioning the administration on how proposed changes to economic impact analyses required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) could potentially hide the true impact of a species listing on jobs and private property rights across the nation.
In their letter to Dan Ashe, Director of US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), they expressed concerns about FWS attempting to change the rules required for reporting economic impact to bury reality by statistical manipulation in an attempt to hide the ball on the actual impact to business and agriculture. There has been a disturbing trend of late in the lengths to which FWS is willing to go to avoid accounting for the economic impact of their rule making process, especially in regards to the ESA and the Injurious Wildlife list under the Lacey Act. This trend has become more pronounced under the direction of Dan Ashe.
FWS has systematically avoided having to make economic justifications for its actions. In a calculated strategy of using rule making to avoid the legislative process, Ashe and the Obama Administration have pushed for an aggressive, yet critically incomplete, rule making process. With the support of radical environmental and animal rights advocates, Ashe has shortcutted the rule making process, seemingly ignoring the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), the Information Quality Act (IQA), and more to the point, ignoring the required economic impact analyses.
By-passing these important institutional checks and balances is having a dire negative impact on agriculture and small business. Billions of dollars of economic impact and tens of thousands of jobs are at stake while FWS tries to play a bureaucratic shell game with the American public. Special interests such as the Defenders of Wildlife pressure their friends at FWS to expedite rule makings as a moral imperative.
There is no doubt that Director Ashe and the NGO’s that support him feel that they hold the moral high ground on these issues. Protecting the nation’s wildlife and environment are indeed noble causes. However, corrupt means do not lead to a noble end. Circumventing legal and administrative processes designed to protect the integrity of rule making is not noble. Decisions cannot be arbitrarily made based on the ideals of a government agency or a powerful lobbying group seeking to bypass reasonable and established mandates for process, procedure and information quality standards in order to appease special interest groups.
On December 14, 2010, in a decision by US District Court Judge Oliver Wanger regarding an FWS rule to cut water off from the Central Valley of California to protect the Delta Smelt under the ESA, Judge Wanger ruled against FWS calling the sloppy science and fudged process, “arbitrary, capricious and unlawful”.
The rule cut off billions of gallons of water from human and agricultural use without scientific and procedural justification. It devastated the family owned agricultural businesses that relied on water to irrigate their crops in the Central Valley of California. What was left of these family farms in the wake of the FWS action was characterized as “dust bowl” like conditions. Government ideals cannot be permitted to take precedent over facts and science in order to expedite action that hurts jobs and the economy, all under the ruse of a moral imperative to protect endangered species and the rule making process.
In 2011 Congressman Darryl Issa held a hearing before his Government Oversight & Reform Committee to investigate a “broken government” rule making process. During this hearing he points out that, “it appears the FWS violated the administrative process in a number of ways” in regards to the Constrictor rule making, a proposed rule to add 9 constricting snakes to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. Under questioning of committee members, then Director of the White House Office of Management & Budget, Cass Sunstein, was asked about the trend in rule making where agencies were systematically avoiding economic impact analysis. Sunstein assured the committee that economic impact analysis would be done for all outstanding rules.
The Small Business Administration’s Office of the Advocate, also commenting on the proposed Constrictor rule, informed the FWS that its Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis (IRFA) was sorely lacking. Scientists from around the world questioned the highly controversial science used to substantiate the rule. When the science was further questioned under the Information Quality Act (IQA), agency officials replied that they weren’t held to the mandates for information quality required by IQA. On January 17, 2012 the Constrictor rule was partially enacted without an economic impact analysis having been done. Again FWS justifies rule making actions circumventing due process with the moral authority of expediting the protection of the environment.
The continued and relentless attempt by FWS to expedite their rule making process at the expense of jobs and the economy, while justifying their actions by claiming the moral high ground, is irresponsible and reckless.
The US Herpetoculture Alliance is urging better scrutiny and oversight for a bureaucratic process gone amok. If facts and science are going to be held hostage to ideology, then expect the Herp Alliance to be shining a bright light for a growing audience of concerned Americans to be able to clearly see where government actions appear to have no regard for jobs, private property or due process. Unbridled government has become one of the biggest obstacles to economic growth and jobs. It is time that agency staff be held to account for their actions.