Herp Alliance has confirmed from Senator Michael Roberson’s office that he will introduce his dangerous animal bill today. The bill itself will be available immediately after its introduction and Herp Alliance will post it here once it’s released. That meeting begins at 11:00 a.m. PDT, so we anticipate seeing the bill this afternoon.
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 –
- Class Mammalia
- Order Carnivora –
- Family Canidae: captive-bred red wolves (Canis rufus) and gray wolves (Canis lupus).
- Family Felidae: lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa, Neofelis diardi), snow leopards (Panthera uncia), jaguars (Panthera onca), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), captive-bred mountain lions (Puma concolor), including hybrids thereof.
- 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.
- Class Reptilia
- 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.
- Prohibited Activities
- 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.
- Prior Possession
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.
By Andrew Wyatt
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.
In July 2012, Senator Michael Roberson (R-Las Vegas) announced he will introduce a bill in the 2013 state legislature prohibiting Nevadans from keeping exotic animals as pets. Nevada is one of six states without a regulation on the books regulating private ownership of wild animals. Since then, Roberson has worked closely with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on drafting the bill that he plans to introduce in February.
Herp Alliance has obtained a copy of the draft bill that HSUS has been negotiating with Roberson, which can be linked here: Nevada Dangerous Wild Animals Act draft.
Herp Alliance has heard rumors that members of the Nevada exotic animals community are working with PIJAC to introduce their own alternate bill and search for a sponsor in the legislature for same. Some features of that draft are rumored to be restrictions on the ownership of any constrictor snake that will potentially reach 100 lbs.
Although nothing has yet been introduced, Herp Alliance OPPOSES Roberson’s draft bill. It is over-reaching and onerous and includes a provision that allows the expansion of the term “Dangerous Wild Animal” by administrative rule. In addition, although the draft bill contains a grandfather clause for existing exotic animal owners, Roberson has stated that he’s, “not sure about giving current owners a pass on keeping a potentially dangerous animal.” Herp Alliance will reserve further judgment until the bill has been introduced.
Herp Alliance has not yet seen the alternate bill that is rumored to be circulating. However, in principle, the Herp Alliance would OPPOSE any proposal on the keeping of large constrictors based on arbitrary criteria, such as the animal’s potential adult size. This would potentially have a tremendously negative impact on species such as the reticulated python, where there is no species differentiation between insular island localities and the larger localities.