Tag Archives: exotic animal ban

West Virginia Introduces Companion Exotics Ban in the Senate


On January 24, 2014, West Virginia Senators Robert Beach (D) and William R. Laird IV (D) introduced Senate Bill 428, a proposed Dangerous Wild Animals Act, which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and then to the Committee on Finance.

SB 428 is another bill to ban exotic animals in addition to West Virginia House Bill 371 that the US Herpetoculture Alliance announced on January 17th, and includes the same broad ban on the keeping of exotic animals that is under consideration in the West Virginia House of Representatives.

West Virginians should be aware that there is movement in both state chambers to outlaw the keeping of all exotic animals, including reptiles and amphibians, and the specific species banned under both bills will be set by administrative rule, bypassing full legislative process.

The full text of West Virginia SB 428 can be seen here.

Exotic Animal Owners Beware: Pennsylvania Introduces HB 575

200px-Seal_of_Pennsylvania.svgOn February 8, 2013, Pennsylvania Representatives Haluska, Kortz. D Costa, Cohen, Caroll, O’Neill, Caltagirone, Mahoney, Mullery, W. Keller, V. Brown, Deluca, Hess an Murt introduced House Bill 575, which was referred to the Game and Fisheries Committee the same day.

HB 575 seeks to prohibit certain “exotic wildlife” after January 1, 2015.  “Exotic wildlife” is defined as “all nonindigenous animals” in addition to a specified list of exotics from private ownership. The bill does not define nonindigenous animals, which, as a matter of law, means all animals not native to Pennsylvania.

The only exceptions are birds, any member of the families Equidae horses,asses and zebras), Camelidae (camels, alpacas and llamas),Cervidae (deer, moose and elk), Bovidae (wild cattle and spiralhorned antelopes), Muridae (rats and mice), Chinchillidae (chinchillas and viscachas), Leporidae (rabbits and hares), Erinaceidae (hedgehogs and moonrats), Petauridae (gliders and striped oossums) or any member of the species Mustela furo (domestic ferrets) or Cavia porcellus (domestic guinea pigs) or any “domestic animal” as that term is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511 (relating to cruelty to animals).

The term “exotic wildlife” is not defined elsewhere in Pennsylvania statutes.  Title 34 is intended to encompass only mammals and birds, which would mean it would still broadly impact the exotic animal community, but as written, the legal definition would also include reptiles as a matter of black letter law.  (Title 34 only mentions reptiles with respect to the definition of taxidermy.)

Pennsylvania Title 30 (Fish) deals with reptiles.   The two sections are enforced by different Pennsylvania agencies.

HB 575 states that as of January 1, 2015 the Pennsylvania Game Commission will not issue any new permits for personal possession of an animal defined as “exotic wildlife”.

An “exotic dealer” is defined in HB 1398 as “anyone who imports into this Commonwealth, possesses, buys, sells, locates or finds for a fee, barters, donates, gives away or otherwise disposes of exotic wildlife; and engages in at least five documented transactions annually involving exotic wildlife.

Herp Alliance opposes HB 575 due to the ambiguity in the definition of “exotic wildlife” but also because it seeks to impose a prohibition on all exotic mammals within the State of Pennsylvania.

Because we believe that the language would only inadvertently include reptiles, we are not issuing an Action Alert for herpetoculturists at this time.  However, members of the exotic animal community with mammals should be contacting their legislators.


New York Seeks to Criminalize Wild Animal and Reptile Ownership

Seal-of-New-YorkOn January 18, 2013, Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark  (D-Queens Village) introduced Assembly Bill 2869 which was referred to Agriculture the same day.  A2869 seeks to criminalize all ownership of wild animals or reptiles “capable of inflicting bodily harm upon a human” as a felony.  The full text of A2869 is linked (above) and it is quoted verbatim below as well.

Herp Alliance strongly opposes A2869.  The definition of “capable of inflicting bodily harm upon a human” covers all reptiles without exception and seeks to make ownership of reptiles in New York a felony.

Full Text:

370. PROHIBITION OF THE OWNERSHIP, POSSESSION OR HARBORING OF wild animals and reptiles. Any person owning, possessing or harboring a wild animal or reptile capable of inflicting bodily harm upon a human being is guilty of a CLASS E FELONY AS DEFINED BY THE PENAL LAW.

FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, “WILD animal”  IS DEFINED IN ACCORDANCE TO PARAGRAPH E OF SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION 11-0103 OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW.  Previous attacks upon a human being by such wild animal or reptile, or knowledge of the vicious propensities of such wild animal or reptile, on the part of the possessor or harborer thereof, shall not be required to be proven by the people upon a prosecution hereunder; and neither the fact that such wild animal or reptile has not previously attacked a human being, nor lack of knowledge of the vicious propensities of such wild animal or reptile on the part of the owner, possessor or harborer thereof shall constitute a defense to a prosecution hereunder.

S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.