La Crosse WI - County board puts exotic animal ban on hold - FaunaClassifieds
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Old 03-11-2004, 02:25 AM   #1
Clay Davenport
La Crosse WI - County board puts exotic animal ban on hold

Exotic animal lovers flocked to La Crosse County's Health and Human Services Board on Tuesday to plead with officials not to ban their pets.

"Permits and licenses are wonderful, but stop there," said Joyce Schneider of Holmen, Wis.

She was among the 21 people who testified against a proposed wild and exotic animal ordinance, sharing stories about their beloved boa constrictors, sugar gliders and zebras.

Three people, including two associated with the Coulee Region Humane Society, testified in favor of the ordinance.

About 100 people attended the hearing, and the public outpouring clearly made an impact on the board, which voted later to delay action until its April meeting.

Before the April meeting, Health Department staff will re-examine the possibility of permits and removing some animals from the banned list.

"They have some very compelling arguments," said Supervisor Sharon Hampson, one of the ordinance's authors.

She said staff initially rejected the idea of permits because they are too hard to enforce. "We'll certainly take a look at it again," Hampson said.

Other board members said they are concerned about taking animals and rights away from people.

One common theme from the testimony was that a few irresponsible people who don't take care of exotic pets are ruining things for the vast majority, who are responsible owners.

Another theme was that domestic animals like vicious dogs and agricultural livestock like bulls do more damage to humans than exotic animals.

And finally, people said they couldn't bear to give up the companions they've come to love.

Dawn and Dan Leitzke of Holmen testified that they own three Grant's zebras on their acreage in Long Coulee, and have been granted county zoning permits to build a housing facility for them.

"I obtained them as bottle babies and have loved and pampered them every day of their lives," Dawn Leitzke said. "They are regularly hand fed, watered, vaccinated, de-wormed, exercised, groomed, massaged and clothed in horse blankets and scarves when the weather dictates."

"My horses are disguised in a referee suit," said Dan Leitzke, adding that zebras are closely related to horses.

The majority of comments came from snake and reptile lovers.

"I've never had the urge to own a tiger," said Ellen Severson of La Crosse. "My family has pet snakes and each lives alone in a locked cage."

Severson said her daughter just got a five-foot boa named Jupiter, who might grow beyond the six-foot limit in the proposed ordinance.

"He's a mellow, gentle fellow," Severson said. "I hope you'll exempt nonvenomous snakes."

"I love snakes and lizards," proclaimed Todd Hunter, a morning radio host. "There are so many responsible owners you never hear about. ... There's a story about an irresponsible owner with a giant snake that lets it hang around a 3-year-old, which is stupid.

"It doesn't sound as though we have an epidemic of rabid snakes running the streets of La Crosse, zebras trampling down people's doorways, exotic cats leaping onto the heads of little children," Hunter said. "But what does sound like an epidemic is 800,000 dog bites per year in the United States."

Mary Vinson, executive director of the Humane Society, said the society can't afford to rescue and keep all the exotic animals that people abandon in the county. Few people can afford to care for these animals well, she said.

http://www.lacrossetribune.com/artic.../01animals.txt
 
Old 12-17-2006, 02:27 PM   #2
The BoidSmith
What I don't agree with is to defend our right to own reptiles by making a point of the danger posed by other pets and/or livestock. No one will win out of arguments such as those; in the end they might probably end banning the exotic pets together with certain breeds of dogs known for their agressive behavior.

Regards.
 

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