The Illinois legislature will publish later today the Second Amendment to SB 902 (House Amendment 1). There are three substantive changes in the Second Amendment, and they are as follows:
- Malagasy cat-eyed snakes (Madagascarophis) are being removed from the definition of “Venomous Reptiles.”
- Section 30-5, the prohibition on the sale of aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles whose carapaces are less than 4″ has been removed entirely.
- Zoos accredited by the Zoological Association of America will be included in the exempt organizations.
These changes have been made in response to feedback from Illinois residents.
It has been erroneously reported on the internet that SB 902 will illegalize all turtle and tortoise breeding in Illinois. This is false, and it is a misinterpretation of that section.
First, “Turtle farming” is defined in the bill as “the act of breeding, hatching, raising, selling turtles, or any combination commercially for the purpose of providing turtles, turtle eggs, or turtle parts to pet suppliers, exporters, and food industries.”
Illinois seeks to preclude commercial turtle farming. This language is specifically drafted to affect only turtle production for sale to pet suppliers, exporters and food industries. This is not hobby breeding.
This bill provides overwhelming benefits to the Illinois herp community. It has broad support of Illinois reptile keepers, multiple Illinois herp societies, reptile rescues and individuals.
Under current Illinois law, it is illegal to privately keep any venomous or life threatening reptile. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that pythons of 15′ in length are life threatening and therefore illegal.
Some of the benefits of SB 902:
SB 902 would lift the prohibition on large constrictors currently in place, and instead proposes certain “captive maintenance requirements” as set forth in the bill are met.
SB 902 would also make it legal to keep certain venomous snakes, crocodilians, Komodo dragons and crocodile monitor lizards with a permit only if used for bona fide educational purposes.
SB 902 also removes all herpetofauna from the purview of the Illinois Dangerous Animals Act.
Herp Alliance continues to support SB 902.