Tag Archives: constrictor ban

American Bar Association Recommends Constrictor Ban

No BoaThe US Herpetoculture Alliance reported on September 1, 2014 that the Animal Law Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) had taken a stand against “Dangerous Wild Animals,” recommending a ban on the private ownership of ALL large constrictors, venomous snakes and crocodilians.  640px-American_Bar_Association.svg

Today, the ABA House of Delegates approved ABA Animal Law Committee
Resolution 105
, urging the passage of laws that “prohibit, the possession,sale, breeding, import, or transfer of dangerous wild animals.”
 Resolution 105 states that:

“Dangerous wild animals do not make good pets. Only through private prohibition can there exist  a uniform U.S. legal regime that safeguards the public, protects animals, allocates legal liability and insurance risk properly, furthers a policy of respect for nature, and considers the interests of present and future generations in accordance with the goals of the American Bar Association.”

ABA’s list is broad and over-inclusive, and it has defined “Dangerous Wild Animals” to include, among multiple species of mammals, the following reptiles:

  • All species of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials.
  • Family Atractaspidae: all species, such as mole vipers.
  • Anacondas (Genus Eunectes), boa constrictors (Boa constrictor), Burmese pythons (Python molurus), reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus), amethystine pythons (Morelia amethistinus), scrub pythons (Morelia kinghorni), Northern African pythons (Python sebae), 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, such as rattlesnakes, pit vipers, and puff adders.

The Report presents new problems for all exotic animal owners and keepers, including reptile owners.  The Report states that,

“the American Bar Association urges all federal, state, territorial, and local legislative bodies and/or governmental agencies to enact comprehensive laws that prohibit the private possession, sale, breeding, import, or transfer of dangerous wild animals, such as big cats, bears, wolves, primates, and dangerous reptiles, in order to protect public safety and health, and to ensure the humane treatment and welfare of such animals.”

This edict, adopted and approved by the ABA, will be a persuasive argument to politicians.

The Reptile Nation needs, now more than ever, effective advocacy, or the Lacey Act’s Injurious Wildlife List will be a moot point because large constrictors will be illegal at the state and local levels.

American Bar Association Recommends Constrictor Ban

No Boa
640px-American_Bar_Association.svgThe US Herpetoculture Alliance has learned that in August, the American Bar Association (ABA) Animal Law Committee took a stand against “Dangerous Wild Animals” in a report that can be read in its entirety here: ABA Animal Law Committee August 2014 Report on Dangerous Wild Animals.  The Report, which recommends a ban on the private ownership of ALL large constrictors, venomous snakes and crocodilians,  concluded that:

“Dangerous wild animals do not make good pets. Only through private prohibition can there exist  a uniform U.S. legal regime that safeguards the public, protects animals, allocates legal liability and insurance risk properly, furthers a policy of respect for nature, and considers the interests of present and future generations in accordance with the goals of the American Bar Association.”

ABA’s list is broad and over-inclusive, and it has defined “Dangerous Wild Animals” to include, among multiple species of mammals, the following reptiles:

  • All species of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials.
  • Family Atractaspidae: all species, such as mole vipers.
  • Anacondas (Genus Eunectes), boa constrictors (Boa constrictor), Burmese pythons (Python molurus), reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus), amethystine pythons (Morelia amethistinus), scrub pythons (Morelia kinghorni), Northern African pythons (Python sebae), 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, such as rattlesnakes, pit vipers, and puff adders.

The Report presents new problems for all exotic animal owners and keepers, including reptile owners.  The Report states that,

“the American Bar Association urges all federal, state, territorial, and local legislative bodies and/or governmental agencies to enact comprehensive laws that prohibit the private possession, sale, breeding, import, or transfer of dangerous wild animals, such as big cats, bears, wolves, primates, and dangerous reptiles, in order to protect public safety and health, and to ensure the humane treatment and welfare of such animals.”

Without question, this Report will make its way into legislatures across the country as anti-reptile bills are introduced, and an edict from the ABA will be a persuasive argument to politicians.

The Reptile Nation needs, now more than ever, effective advocacy, or the Lacey Act’s Injurious Wildlife List will be a moot point because large constrictors will be illegal at the state and local levels.

The Elephant in the Room with the Reptiles

As a litigator myself, I have always told clients that litigation is like finding a piece of string on the floor that leads out a closed door. Sometimes, when you pull on that string, a ball of yarn rolls to your feet.  But sometimes, you pull that string, and an elephant walks into your sitting room.

boa constrictor elephant2On December 18, 2013, USARK filed its Complaint against Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, and US Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the Constrictor Rule to the Lacey Act.

The Defendants responded with a highly technical Motion to Dismiss and USARK responded with an even more technical Response containing a tortured explanation of how USARK is now a conservation organization.  We await the government’s Reply which is due within the week.  So far, all of the legal wrangling pertains to pleading deficiencies alleged by the government in USARK’s Complaint.

As Herp Alliance has stated repeatedly, we think that USARK will be able to amend its Complaint to correct those pleading deficiencies such that it can overcome the hurdle of standing.

So far, this has little to do with arbitrary and capricious rule making or a reach by the government through the Lacey Act to try to restrict interstate commerce, which is the meat of USARK’s complaint.

We have been asked repeatedly for our opinion of USARK’s case.  The strength of a lawsuit does not lie solely in the application of facts to the law.  We like USARK’s legal argument.  Nonetheless, the case is weak, very weak, and for one major reason:  money.

If the rumors on Facebook are true, USARK has raised $137,000 toward the lawsuit.  If this lawsuit goes to trial, it will easily cost more than ten times that amount, which is far more money than USARK has.  Without the funds to continue the fight, the case will die on the vines.  The government knows that USARK is underfunded, and their legal team is probably acutely aware that USARK is going to labor intensely just to make it through discovery, much less early dispositive motions like the pending Motion to Dismiss.

Individuals who are invested in the interstate commerce of large constrictors should reach deeply into their pockets now and donate to USARK’s Legal Defense Fund if they want this lawsuit to continue, otherwise there will be little chance to succeed.

USARK's lead attorney, Shaun Gehan, announced today that he has left Kelley Drye and started his own firm.
USARK’s lead attorney, Shaun Gehan, announced today that he has left Kelley Drye and started his own firm.

Another problem for USARK is that their lead counsel, Shaun Gehan, the attorney who has so far signed all of USARK’s pleadings, announced today on LinkedIn that he is no longer with Kelley Drye and has started his own firm.  Although Kelley Drye is a very large firm with tremendous legal resources, the abrupt departure of USARK’s lead counsel and presumably the attorney most knowledgeable about the case, is very bad news for USARK.  Yes, another attorney can step into those shoes, but it will be expensive to bring that attorney up to speed.

But the frailties of the federal lawsuit are not the elephant in the room with herpetoculture today.  We have a much bigger problem on our hands, and that problem is the landslide of state ballot initiatives that are marching unfettered across the country right now.  Even if USARK wins the federal lawsuit, it will be immaterial if it is illegal to own herps at the state level.

USARK has not testified at any of the state level committee hearings in 2013 or states2014.  Andrew Wyatt, former President and CEO of the Herp Alliance, testified at the Committee Hearing of Maryland House Bill 1124 (Criminal Possession of Dangerous Wild Animals), where the bill sponsor had Debbie Leahy (Captive Wildlife Regulatory Specialist, HSUS) seated at his side to present the bill to the House Committee.  Prior to joining HSUS, Leahy founded the animal rights group Illinois Animal Action, which she headed for eight years. She then joined PETA and lead their nationwide campaign against circuses and roadside zoos. PETA has bragged about Leahy that she “has dashed onto killing fields to disrupt pheasant hunts,” and “dressed as a giant rabbit to protest cruel animal tests.”

stop_sign_HSUSDebbie Leahy is not an attorney.  She is an extreme animal rights activist.  And she sat in the Maryland General Assembly aside Representative Eric Luedtke and presented a piece of legislation to the House Environmental Matters Committee and helped deliver a first reading of a bill.  This is a single example.  Lousiana is currently trying to outlaw carpet pythons, among others, and the enormous, over-reaching West Virginia Dangerous Wild Animals Act sailed through both chambers virtually unopposed and now sits on Governor Tomblin’s desk.  HSUS is clear on its web site that it believes all reptile ownership should be forbidden:

“Captive snakes and other reptiles are difficult and dangerous to care for, and released or escaped snakes wreak havoc on the environment.”

HSUS (http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/exotic_pets/).

The animal rights industry is winning the war against reptiles with bill after bill going unopposed across the United States.  Being allowed to ship Burmese pythons between states will be an expensive and meaningless victory if it is a criminal act to own them privately.

2014 may be a turning point for herpetoculture and the time to act is upon us.

Louisiana Reptile Ban Talking Points

Louisiana_State_Capitol_at_nightEarlier today, Herp Alliance  announced the introduction of Louisiana Senate Bill 357.  SB 357 seeks to change existing Louisiana law.  Currently, to own one of the listed constrictors that is over 8′ in length, or to own a restricted venomous snake, a keeper must fall into one of the organizational exemptions (animal sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife research centers, scientific organizations, and medical research facilities as defined in the Animal Welfare Act) or have a permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

SB 357 will change all of that so that all of the listed constrictors will be prohibited as well as all of the listed venomous snakes.  Private ownership will be banned and only the exempted organizations will be permitted to keep these animals.  The bill is slated to go into effect August 1, 2014, and there is no grandfathering for existing animals.

The Herp Alliance talking points against this bill can be found in the link below.  In addition, full contact information for every member of the Natural Resources Committee can be found below as well.  If you live in Louisiana or do business in Louisiana, please contact these committee members.  Keep your comments, brief, polite and professional.

Herp Alliance SB 357 Talking Points.

Natural Resources Committee

Committee Members

Senator Gerald Long (Chairman)
P.O. Box 151
Winnfield, LA 71483

(318) 628-5799
longg@legis.la.gov
Senator Rick Ward, III (Vice-Chairman)
3741 Highway 1
Port Allen, LA 70767

(225) 246-8838
wardr@legis.la.gov
Senator R.L. “Bret” Allain, II
600 Main Street
Suite 1
Franklin, LA 70538

(337) 828-9107
allainb@legis.la.gov
Senator “Jody” Amedee
2109 S. Burnside Ave.
Suite A
Gonzales, LA 70737

(225) 644-1526
amedeej@legis.la.gov
Senator Norbèrt N. “Norby” Chabert
P.O. Box 2417
Houma, LA 70361

(985) 858-2927
chabertn@legis.la.gov
Senator Jean-Paul J. Morrell
6305 Elysian Fields Ave.
Suite 404
New Orleans, LA 70122

(504) 284-4794
morrelljp@legis.la.gov
Senator Dan “Blade” Morrish
119 W. Nezpique Street
Jennings, LA 70546

(337) 824-3979
morrishd@legis.la.gov
Senator Page Cortez (Interim Member)
101 W. Farrell Road
Bldg. 5, Suite 100
Lafayette, LA 70508

(337) 993-7430
cortezp@legis.la.gov

 

 

Louisiana Seeks to Ban Nearly All Pythons and All Venomous Snakes

state_seal_color3On February 28, 2014, Louisiana Senator Norbert (“Norby”) Chabert (R) introduced Senate Bill 357.

Senate Bill 357 seeks to ban the private ownership of all Carpet and Diamond pythons, Papuan pythons, Olive Pythons, Scrub pythons, Amethystine pythons, South African pythons, African Rock pythons, Burmese pythons, Reticulated pythons, all species of the genus Boa, and all Anacondas.  It also is an outright ban on the ownership of all venomous snakes.  Full text of Louisiana Senate Bill 357.

SB 357 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.  Contacts for all committee members is included below.  Lousiana residents need to act NOW.

Committee Members

Senator Gerald Long (Chairman)
P.O. Box 151
Winnfield, LA 71483

(318) 628-5799
longg@legis.la.gov
Senator Rick Ward, III (Vice-Chairman)
3741 Highway 1
Port Allen, LA 70767

(225) 246-8838
wardr@legis.la.gov
Senator R.L. “Bret” Allain, II
600 Main Street
Suite 1
Franklin, LA 70538

(337) 828-9107
allainb@legis.la.gov
Senator “Jody” Amedee
2109 S. Burnside Ave.
Suite A
Gonzales, LA 70737

(225) 644-1526
amedeej@legis.la.gov
Senator Norbèrt N. “Norby” Chabert
P.O. Box 2417
Houma, LA 70361

(985) 858-2927
chabertn@legis.la.gov
Senator Jean-Paul J. Morrell
6305 Elysian Fields Ave.
Suite 404
New Orleans, LA 70122

(504) 284-4794
morrelljp@legis.la.gov
Senator Dan “Blade” Morrish
119 W. Nezpique Street
Jennings, LA 70546

(337) 824-3979
morrishd@legis.la.gov
Senator Page Cortez (Interim Member)
101 W. Farrell Road
Bldg. 5, Suite 100
Lafayette, LA 70508

(337) 993-7430
cortezp@legis.la.gov

Federal Bill Introduced Re: Export of Large Constrictors

house-sealA bill (click here for full text) was introduced in the US House of representatives today regarding the export of constrictors listed on the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. It is sponsored by John Flemming (R-LA). A bill number has not been assigned as of yet, but we expect to see a bill number and sub-committee assignment within 24 hours. John Flemming is Chairman of the US House Natural Resources Committee, Sub-Committee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs. US Herpetoculture Alliance expects the committee assignment will be to Chairman Flemming’s committee.

There will likely be a Sub-Committee hearing this summer.

Stay tuned to Herp Alliance for further information.

ACTION ALERT: Connecticut HB 5832

1-Logos_Revised_2_BW-002

ACTION ALERT

CONNECTICUT:

On January 24, 2013, HB 5832 was introduced by Representative Diana S. Urban (D) and referred to the Joint Committee on Environment. It seeks to ban entirely Boas and Burmese pythons.

HB 5832 proposes that section 26-40a of the general statutes be amended to provide that “the sale, transfer or breeding of certain exotic animals is also prohibited and to add tigers, mole vipers, boa constrictors, burmese pythons and sea snakes to the list of prohibited animals. . .”
Herp Alliance strongly opposes HB 5832.  Since 1990, Connecticut has never had a human death or injury resulting from any species of constrictor snake.  In fact, since 1990, Connecticut has never had a human death resulting from any reptile of any species.

Please contact the Connecticut Joint Committee on the Environment to voice your opposition.  You can use our form below, which will send an email to each member of the committee from you, or you can use the contact information provided beneath it to draft your own email to each committee member.

Directions:

  • Fill out the form below;
  • Personalize your message in the box below or just sign it if you wish;
  • Fill in the text code below; and
  • Hit send!

We have temporarily taken our form down.  After successfully sending 360 emails to the Connecticut Committee members, our emails are being rejected as spam.  We are redesigning our forms now and will have a new form up later this evening.

TO SEND YOUR OWN E-MAIL OR LETTER,  CONTACT:

Connecticut General Assembly Committee on the Environment:  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?comm_code=ENV

Connecticut Seeks to Outlaw Boas and Burmese Pythons

CTConnecticut already requires a permit to own any reptile.

On January 24, 2013, HB 5832 was introduced by Representative Diana S. Urban (D) and referred to the Joint Committee on Environment. It seeks to ban entirely Boas and Burmese pythons.

HB 5832 proposes that section 26-40a of the general statutes be amended to provide that “the sale, transfer or breeding of certain exotic animals is also prohibited and to add tigers, mole vipers, boa constrictors, burmese pythons and sea snakes to the list of prohibited animals. . .”

Herp Alliance strongly opposes HB 5832.  Since 1990, Connecticut has never had a human death or injury resulting from any species of constrictor snake.  In fact, since 1990, Connecticut has never had a human death resulting from any reptile of any species.