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USA State Specific Issues Issues that are specific to a particular state, or subregion within a state, should be appended to the existing relevant thread. NEW threads cannot be created in this forum.

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Old 02-25-2005, 01:02 PM   #141
I was afraid this might happen in all the counties in Florida. Please see the thread in this same forum: "Alert!! Hillsborough County, FL".

The different county attorneys from all the counties may be meeting secretly to overthrow the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission of their authority and powers.

We must actually support the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's powers in this matter or we will lose everything soon! Bad government in action.

We are losing a lot of freedoms in the U.S.A.
Old 02-25-2005, 01:44 PM   #142
A little off topic, but there is an interesting story titled "Attack of the Alien Invaders" in the current issue of the National Geographic, concerning world wide problems with non-native species. The cover picture of the story depicts a Burmese Python crossing a road in Florida (picture was staged with captive animal) along with the authors account of how he went road cruising and actually found one crossing the road! There is little doubt they are established and breeding in Florida.

This is just another case of the irresponsible minority in the hobby screwing the responsible majority when their actions create bad press, hysteria, and sometimes legitamate problems in their communities. These actions leave the door open for special interest groups and politicians to pass "feel good" and sometimes justifiable legislation, concerning the keeping of exotics.

If Bubba keeps getting bit by the pet Rhino Viper he ordered on line after being inspired by an Austin Stevens episode and Billy Joe Jim Bob keeps releasing his pet Burms and Nile Monitors because their getting too big for the trailer, pretty soon there won't be much of a hobby left.
Old 02-26-2005, 12:54 AM   #143
Fu** politicans. Honestly who is going to give up their animals anyways? LOL. They will not ever take away my herps!!
Old 02-27-2005, 12:22 AM   #144

so what was the outcome of the meeting? did you follow up on it or did you go? I am not far from there, so i'm interested in the final outcome.
Old 03-07-2005, 03:45 PM   #145
Mike Greathouse
This article ran in The St Pete Times on 3/7/05

Tougher rules urged for exotic animals
After changing the rules on where animal cages can be, Pinellas leaders have asked state agencies to tighten other restrictions.
Published March 7, 2005


Like most infants, Kira sleeps in a soft, cushy baby crib a stone's throw away from her mommy.

But at 18 months, she's getting too big for the little wooden frame. Soon she'll join her sisters and start sleeping in a hammock in a caged room with walls painted like a jungle.

A little weird, you say?

Not to monkey-mommy Gini Valbuena, who keeps three chimpanzees - Kira, Kenya, 3, and Tanzee, 7 - in her two-bedroom Clearwater home.

"I didn't ask for a bike or a doll at Christmas growing up," said the cosmopolitan version of Jane Goodall, with a jet-black bob haircut and french manicured toes. "I just wanted to have a monkey."

But a recent decision by Pinellas County to require cages containing livestock and some exotic animals to be set back from property lines has suburban exotic animal owners like Valbuena contemplating heading for the hills.

"More regulations are just not an option for some of us," she said. "We've been here for years without any real problems and now all of a sudden they want to put rules on top of rules."

Previously, the cages were not regarded as structures and could sit anywhere on a property. Set-back requirements will vary depending on zoning classifications, but will range from at least seven feet for cages in single-family residences, to 25 feet for people living in agricultural estate districts.

The new rules don't directly affect current exotic animal owners like Valbuena, because they are grandfathered into the former rule and regulated by the state. But county officials are hoping that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will follow their lead and toughe n their own requirements on exotic animals.

In addition to monitoring fishing, boating and wildlife safety in the state, the conservation commission regulates the licensing, permitting and monitoring of the hundreds of locations where exotic animals are kept across the state.

The animals are broken down into three classes. Class I animals, including tigers, chimpanzees, bears and venomous snakes, are generally considered dangerous and can be used only for business or educational purposes. Class II animals are potentially dangerous, such as coyotes or cougars. Class III animals are not as dangerous and include certain crocodiles, raccoons and non-venomous snakes.

The state is aware of 32 Pinellas locations where Class I and Class II animals are kept.

Last month, the county sent a letter to the conservation commission outlining five concerns and recommendations for ways to better regulate these animals.

"What we're concerned about is what you've seen recently in other places where these people are permitted and not followed up on," said Kenny Mitchell, director of Pinellas County Animal Services."If we see things that are a concern, we obviously have to speak to them and if we can prevent things from becoming a problem, we should tell them."

The county's suggestions include requiring exotic animal owners to submit disaster plans to local emergency management departments and to require venomous snake owners have antivenom readily available. Currently these are not Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requirements.

Pinellas is the latest in a string of local authorities to express concern with the state conservation commission's enforcement of captive wildlife.

"It's our way of emphasizing the importance to maintaining the health and welfare for the general public," said Lois Kostroski, executive director of the Florida Animal Control Association, which serves as an umbrella organization for animal control service departments across the state. "We have found out these animals that should not be pets in the first place are getting out, and then they become the local animal control's responsibility."

In January, the Florida Association of Animal Services sent nine recommendations to the commission on how to better regulate, including requiring signs at each entrance to the property where dangerous wildlife are kept, and creating a Web site that would allow residents to determine the location of dangerous wildlife.

Palm Beach and Hillsborough counties have submitted similar laundry lists of concerns and recommendations.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say they encourage dialogue with localities, but they maintain their current rules are some of the most stringent in the country.

"I think a lot of it is ignorance of the law," said Capt. John West of the Investigation Division of Florida Fish and Wildlife."Most don't understand what these owners have to go through to possess these animals. It's not willy nilly. They must go through lots of requirements."

People must be licensed to keep a Class I or Class II animal. To get that license, they must complete 1,000 hours of training and have a year of experience with that type of animal. They must also have two letters of reference related to their experience and verify that they have appropriate caging.

A permit is required to keep Class III animals. The permit requires taking 1,000 hours of training or 100 hours and passing a test on care for that animal. Class III animals can be kept as pets.

West said the commission inspects Class I and II animals at least three times a year. Class III animals are inspected at least once a year.

Of the 1,000 commission officers throughout the state, only 18 are charged with monitoring exotic animals in captivity. Three investigators are assigned to the Pinellas-Hillsborough area.

"We think we have an excellent system, as far as monitoring this industry," West said. "Granted, people get around certain things, and, yes, things happen, but all in all we probably have the best system in the country that doesn't ban these animals."

In the last several years, there have been no deaths or serious injuries to the public associated with escaped captive wildlife, West said. But there have been close calls.

In August 2003, a Tampa man was hospitalized after being bit by his pet black mamba snake.

Last July, a 600-pound tiger belonging to a former Tarzan actor escaped in Fort Lauderdale, sending authorities on a 26-hour hunt before the tiger was shot and killed.

And in early February, an Oldsmar woman was bitten on the hand by an infant tiger on exhibit at a local car dealership. A few weeks ago, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers had to tranquilize an adult tiger that escaped from its cage at the Panther Ridge Sanctuary in Wellington, Fla.

The issue of exotic animals in Pinellas County came to a head one morning when Commissioner Ken Welch saw a tiger in a cage on the back of a pickup in his St. Petersburg neighborhood.

"I made the rest of the commission aware of what I had seen and contacted our animal services department," Welch said of the incident that occurred in September. "I knew we could not regulate this, and we aren't attempting to."

Still, Welch said the experience merited a look at the rules on these animals.

"We're a changing county and as we become more densely populated, I think it's always good to ask if the regulations that made sense in 1955 still make sense in 2005."

But local exotic animal owners claim state and federal agencies regulations are sufficient.

"They think we're this bunch of crazy people, but we are not, we're just different," Valbuena said. "For us, these animals are our lives. To give us more restrictions would be adding to a system that isn't broken."

Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala agrees with Valbuena.

"They're being taken care of. We don't need anymore responsibilities," Latvala said. "When it's being done by one entity, we don't need to get involved, especially if it's being done well."

Curt Stanford, who keeps about 40 nonvenomous rat snakes in his north Pinellas home, said it's an issue of education. Stanford, a member of the Suncoast Herpetological Society, has invited Pinellas commissioners to a workshop on snakes.

"I think once you educate yourself about these animals that have these bad reputations, you figure out it's mostly undeserved," Stanford said. "As a society and as individuals who enjoy exotic animals, we really try to be as responsible as we can with the ownership."

--Nicole Johnson can be reached at 727 771-4303 or e-mail njohnson@sptimes.com Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Old 05-28-2005, 05:12 PM   #146
where can I go to report someone selling illegal animals?
Old 06-05-2005, 07:26 PM   #147
Mike Greathouse
Go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site at the following link:

Report fish and wildlife law violations online

The entire process can be completed on-line.
Old 02-11-2006, 10:33 AM   #148
New proposed reptile legislation in florida!!!

I found this article in Florida Today 2-10-06. Just wondering what everyone thought.

TALLAHASSEE - Alligator-eating, headline-grabbing Burmese pythons in the Everglades are giving reptile regulators the push they need to seek a law governing exotic snakes and giant lizards much like guns.

At a Capitol press conference Thursday, Rep. Ralph Poppell, R-Vero Beach, and Sen. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, announced intentions to require $100 permits for anyone hoping to own a giant python or Nile monitor lizard, among other yet-to-be named exotic reptiles.

These pets are relatively common in Brevard County. Last year 14 people and two establishments had permission from the state to keep venomous reptiles.

And there have been mishaps.

In April 2005, a man was bitten by a black mamba at one facility in West Melbourne. He survived after being flown to Miami for emergency treatment. In June 2003, a woman in unincorporated Brevard near Rockledge was attacked by her escaped 13-foot pet Burmese python. The snake was pried loose and returned to his cage.

It's not ownership so much as disposal of the critters that sponsors want to control.

Though most released or escaped scaly pets are small and considered little threat in their new South Florida homes, some are large enough, and eat enough, to cause concern. A breeding population of Burmese python, for instance, is now established in Everglades National Park.

Wildlife officers last year trapped 71 Burmese pythons, not counting the 13-foot python that made headlines by eating a 6-foot alligator and then exploding before it could digest its rotting dinner.

"This is a worthwhile bill, but it will be worthless without law enforcement and funding," said Eugene Bessette, an avid python breeder and member of the advisory council helping the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission draft its proposed legislation.

Bessette endorsed expansion of the state's snake permitting program, saying it will help the retail industry in the long run. "What we want to do, more than anything, is eliminate the impulse buy.

"Reptiles make great pets, we've just got to do a better job across the board, the industry as well as regulators, in educating the public," he said.

State game wardens already can regulate captive poisonous snakes. The bill, still being drafted, largely replaces the word "venomous" with "regulated," and gives the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission broader power to decide what poses a threat.

Species on the control list will likely include the Burmese python, reticulated python, African rock python, amethystine python, anaconda and Nile monitor lizard.

Poppell said a key part of the proposed legislation will be an amnesty program that allows owners no longer infatuated with their gigantic lizards and snakes to drop them off, penalty free.

"Better to let them loose on us rather than let them loose at the end of your street," Posey said.

Lions, tigers and bearcats may be next.

Carol Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a Tampa sanctuary with a center in Brevard, said she hopes for legislation next that bans their breeding and sales in Florida
Old 02-15-2006, 03:39 AM   #149
Anyone frightened by this thread and others like them should consider action before reaction. If anyone's interested, I wrote a thread called 'Regulating Florida' back in 2004. I would really like to hear thoughts.......
Old 04-19-2006, 02:15 PM   #150
Looks like the Florida Law affecting venomous and large pythons has passed.

If you go to www.flsenate.gov, and in the section that says Jump to Bill, enter bill number 990. The last bill version posted appears to be version S0990c1 on 3/29/06. Click on it and you can see the actual bill. There was also an amendment that was added to the bill on 04/13/06 changing the negligent release of a regulated reptile from a third degree felony to a first degree misdemeanor.

It appears that this bill is going into effect on 07/01/2006 and will be requiring a $100.00 license fee per year along with the posting of a $10,000 (yes, ten thousand dollar bond) for the public exhibition of "regulated reptiles". I have seen other articles that eluded to venomous and certain pythons including Retics, Burmese, and African Rock pythons being on the list but I don't know which ones are on it for sure.

Anyone know what animals are on the regulated list for sure and what animals are going to be added in the near future? It seems like it has been left up to F & W to determine and amend the regulated list at any time.

Just in time for Daytona huh folks!

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