All posts by AWyatt

Herp Alliance Signs Prominent DC Consultant

Frank Vitello of Vitello Consulting
Frank Vitello of Vitello Consulting

The Herp Alliance is excited to announce that we have engaged Vitello Consulting to represent the interests of herpetoculture in Washington DC for the 113th Congress. Vitello Consulting is a full-service government affairs consulting firm assisting clients whose concerns and interests intersect with the United States Congress, federal agencies, and international regulatory organizations. Vitello Consulting’s current and prior clients include organizations such as the Zoological Association of America, The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS), the City of Niagra Falls, and the South Carolina Aquarium, among others.

Frank Vitello, the principal at Vitello Consulting, and Herp Alliance CEO Andrew Wyatt have a very successful history of working together as the architects of one of the most dynamic and effective animal advocacy teams on Capitol Hill. With the help of Vitello Consulting, Wyatt put the herpetoculture community on the map by establishing it as a $1.4 billion industry and defeating HR 669. Vitello and Wyatt garnered the support in both the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee to stifle Senator Bill Nelson’s move to add all pythons to the ‘Injurious Wildlife’ list of the Lacey Act, and eventually defeated HR 2811 and S 373 (aka “The Python Ban”). Vitello and Wyatt also laid all the legal ground work for the federal lawsuit that the Herp Alliance and Vitello Consulting will aggressively pursue. There has been no more effective team on herpetoculture issues at the federal level than Andrew Wyatt and Vitello Consulting. The Herp Alliance is proud to announce that the “A Team” is back together again! Welcome back, Vitello Consulting.

Andrew Wyatt will be back in Washington DC next month for Congressional briefings on the Herp Alliance agenda for 2013.

HSUS Dangerous Animal Legislation 2013

US Herpetoculture Alliance, Inc.
US Herpetoculture Alliance, Inc.

By Andrew Wyatt

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has launched an aggressive campaign to ban the ownership of exotic animals at the state level. On the heels of Zanesville, where HSUS put intense pressure on Ohio’s Governor Kasich and Senator Balderson to pass a draconian new law that not only bans multiple species of reptiles, it further restricts many more, and can be changed easily without public input. Wayne Pacelle’s blog called the victory in Ohio, one of the “Biggest success stories of 2012”. HSUS has coined the catchphrase ‘Dangerous Wild Animal’ or DWA in order to impose onerous restrictions on the private keeping of these animals, including many species of reptiles, or to create outright bans on their ownership. HSUS has plans to export DWA legislation around the country.

HSUS has used exaggeration and inflammatory rhetoric in trying to paint a picture of pythons as “high maintenance deadly predators.” Debbie Leahy, Captive Wildlife Regulatory Specialist for HSUS said, “Escaped pythons are springing out of toilets, attacking people in gardens and ambushing children playing in their yards.”. These outrageous statements are a veiled attempt to scare legislators and the public into passing unwarranted and unneeded legislation in knee-jerk fear of Dangerous Wild Animals on the attack.

Now they are aggressively attempting to introduce new DWA legislation in a number of states. Some of the states being targeted by the HSUS 2013 DWA legislative initiative are:

Dangerous Wild Animal Initiative 2013
Dangerous Wild Animal Initiative 2013

1. Illinois,

2. Indiana,

3. Missouri,

4. Nevada,

5. Virginia,

6. West Virginia, and

7. Wisconsin

Initiatives in Pennsylvania and South Carolina may be promoted as well. HSUS will attempt to pass this legislation in every state in which they are able to get a foothold.

The Herp Alliance seeks to activate herp societies and herp clubs across the battleground states of the Herp Nation, and rally them to organize and prepare to take action when the time is right. The Herp Alliance will provide the information and tools necessary for coordinated grass roots action. Herp Alliance’s experienced legislative experts ensure strong leadership on the ground, and a powerful focused message in the statehouse. We are appealing to the leaders of the clubs and societies to share news and information as events develop.

Working together we will employ a powerful plan of action. Together we can meet these threats posed out of ignorance and misinformation. Together we will defend the animals that are our passion and livelihoods. It is time to put differences to the side and get to work!

“There is no substitute for experience.” Stay tuned for more news as it happens on the Herp Alliance facebook page, the Herp Alliance blog, and the Herp Alliance web site

Send Questions to: info@usherp.org

“Working together for the Future of Herpetoculture”