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Go Back   FaunaClassifieds > Laws, Legislative Issues & Alerts > USA State Specific Issues

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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 12-15-2003, 06:26 AM   #71
evansnakes
I am feeling lousy and was not able to read the bulk of this thread but I just want to interject, based on the origional post, that this behavior you are describing is standard operating procedure for these government agencies for many years now. I myself and many others that I know have been approached at shows in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Illinois and other states by agents attempting to push us into breaking laws by offering animals and/or money to us that they should not have. I have on many occasions called them on this and told them what they were doing and that I knew who they were and what they were attempting. They always respond the same way. They laugh and move onto the next dealer at the show.

I have been 100% cleared by over a dozen agencies at the state and federal level at these shows as an honest guy who would not ever knowingly break the law and have their assesments and documentation to support that and yet I was still run through the ringer by the State of Ohio for a $30 hatchling albino black ratsnake that I sold over 2 years prior to the "big sting" that all of us horrible "poachers" "smugglers" and assorted scum were caught up in.

They are liars and they are hipocrits as they do not give one damn care about the animals but only the revenue raised from the charges that come with the offenses. While they are harrassing people at shows who are standing there for the world to see, the real criminal can go about their work of poaching and collecting as much as they like as these agents evidently do not want to get their shoes dirty by going out into the field to prevent that from happening. Evan Stahl
 
Old 12-15-2003, 12:09 PM   #72
snakebstr
Well said Evan, I also do the OHIO and INDIANA shows from time to time. Although I was not at the show when it was busted. I am sure I would have probably been busted for something. I try not to do anything or have anything illegal but If they want you they will get you for something. I would Like to know HOW in the HELL they can COME TO YOUR TABLE and ask you to buy an illegal animal? Are they not breaking the law in someway or another? If they don't have the animal then how can you(the vendor) break the law? Is it because you would have purchased it? that is bull crap on the part of the officers. I would definitely fight that one with ENTRAPMENT. I am glad I have never had any problems with them in OHIO or INDIANA. I am thinking of doing the Kentucky show but haven't made up my mind if I wanna pay the 25.00 a month for the permit to do the show or If the show has the traffic large enough to warrent making the drive and paying for the 25.00 permit. If anyone has info on the kentucky show post your comments. Thanks DAVID
 
Old 12-15-2003, 12:38 PM   #73
Rob @ RK Reptiles
David,

IN this case the animal it self it not illegal to capture, purchase, or sell in the State of Florida. It is illegal to purchase from a person or entity that is not licensed to sell animals by the State FWS. This is what happened here. They acted as they were just someone off the street to see if these people would purchase without asking or without the seller having a license. I can almost guarantee there were no animals even there but only the discussion of the animals. As I said before it is a ridiculous thing and the FWS officers should not be pursuing the buyers but rather the people that are selling without licenses.
 
Old 12-15-2003, 01:00 PM   #74
snakebstr
Yes, Rob I agree. But how in the heck can they bust you for trying to buy an animal that does not exist without the seller having a permit if there isn't any snake to begin with. That still seems like a clear case of entrapment. Because if they pursue you by walking to your table, seems like they are breaking the law buy not having a permit to begin with. But you stated they don't have the snakes anyway. Like I said NO SNAKES NO CRIME. It is hard to get a conviction on murder with out a body....LOL. I don't believe attempting to purchase snakes that are not present is illegal. Like Rob said even if this is true I don't see why they are busting the purchasers that have permits. Doesn't make sence to me. Does anyone know what really went on in florida at the show? Thanks DAVID
 
Old 12-15-2003, 01:25 PM   #75
Darin Chappell
While I share the sentiment behind many of these posts, I would like to point out that this cannot be a case of entrapment. "Entrapment" is most generally defined as: "the action of luring an individual into committing a crime in order to prosecute the person for it."

In other words, entrapping someone is using deceit to cause someone to comit a crime they otherwise would not have entered into. Going to a person not known for bank robbery, laying out all of the plans and giving him the job of standing watch, while the cops actually do the robbery, would be a case of entrapment. Asking someone at a snake show if they wanted to buy some snakes, and then prosecuting those that did so in a manner contrary to established law, is NOT entrapment.

I recall watching America's Most Wanted once, when the Buffalo police were running a scam on some multiple DUI offenders, who had all had their licenses permentantly revoked. The cops called each person, feigning themselves to be a radio station giving away free tickets to a Bills game. All the "winner" had to do was get to the radio station's offices, and the tickets were absolutely free. Most of them drove there, and they were busted. One guy called a cab, and cops gave him the tickets and patted him on the back. In this case, the exception definitely proved the rule. You didn't HAVE to break the law to get the tickets, hence, it could not be entrapment!
 
Old 12-15-2003, 01:45 PM   #76
bpc
Common sense goes a long way folks!

I was a vendor at this show. I was asked to produce my license by an undercover officer. I explained to him that I had left my license in box which was left behind by mistake. I also told him I understood that I was supposed to have my lincense w/ me while at the show. I then showed my business card which has my license number, address, name, etc. all right on it. I APOLOGIZED for being in violoation of what is a pretty simple law, and then awaited my ticket. The officer asked me a few questions, told me he was going to run the number through his computer, and gave me a verbal warning. End of story.

Luckily, I was the first vendor they checked. Because many of the other vendors he approached gave him a hard time. Arguing w/ a member of law enforcement when you are clearly in violation, is not smart. Especially when he has a large ticket book in one hand. An hour after he had checked me, I saw him again, and he was no longer smiling.

The out of state vendor w/o a lincense getting a ticket doesn't bother me in the least. The size of the ticket ($500) seemed quite high, but I don't write the laws. That's what I think many people forget, the officers don't write the laws, they only enforce them. The ticket for the hedgehog was discussed at the show, and we agreed that we did not remember hedgehogs being on the classIII list. The burden of proof does lie w/ the officer, so if hedgehogs are not on the list (website), then that ticket will be thrown out in court.

Now all that being said, I do not agree that a buyer, whether it be me or a 12 year old kid, should have to ask to see a sellers permit before making a purchase. That is excessive.

Another law that lurks in the state of FL is the records law. There is a law on the books which states that EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL you have for commercial purposes (whether you bought it or produced it) must have a certificate of origin. Think about the ramifications of that one for a minute! I'm ordering special receipt books this week, with a place to mark bought/sold, and then every new animal I bring in will have to have one of those slips placed in a file, and kept until I sell it. Every baby I produce will have to be documented!!!! Think about that one. The only loophole to this law is the commercial purposes part. A 12 year old kid doesn't need the certificate of origin for his PET cornsnake. But the wholesaler you sell all your babies to does! Looking at the law, it seems that a simple receipt will do it, but even that is going to be extremely hard to keep up with.

They have written these laws so that they can get us if they want to. Don't piss them off and make them want to.
 
Old 12-15-2003, 02:07 PM   #77
KNOBTAIL
ROB, i was just wondering

what would have happened if someone showed interest in the offer to buy the scarlets , finding out the price looking at the snakes and then asking them if they had a permit? Would that have made a difference? Is their an order to this. Would I become liable if my first response to their offer was not " Do you have a permit? "

The whole episode is pathetic. I was their and saw all the vendors. As you know, it was a small show, everyone was doing their thing, and the atmosphere was very cordial. What possible gain could FW gain from this. What I intend to do is bring flyers to the next show on the 28th, and advise all the vendors to be vigilant when being approached by someone looking to sell. Unless you know whom your dealing with, your fair game. JERRY
 
Old 12-15-2003, 03:15 PM   #78
Rob @ RK Reptiles
Brian,

the rule about the receipts has been on the books for as long as I can remember. Yes you are supposed to have records of origin on every animal you have I on hand in stock. You do not have to keep the records with you at a show but they must be made available to the Officer at your place of normal business or residence. Once the animal is sold the requirement to keep the document is gone. At that time you can destroy the receipt. The only exception to this rule is on American Alligators or animals that are protected under ESA, and Venomous Reptiles. Anything normal and non venomous you can throw away the receipts once it is sold. I personally keep all the receipts from when I purchase an animal for 5 years for my own well being. Alot of sellers don't care if they get a receipt when they purchase anything but I always ask for one. That is why I asked for one from you when I purchased those Amazons from you last year in West Palm. You looked kind of funny when I asked for a receipt but gave me one.

Jerry,

Had you or anyone asked the seller right off the bat "do you have your license to sell these animals?" and if they said no told them you were not interested nothing would have happened. But if you ask, and they say they don't or don't have it with them and you purchase the animals you or whomever would be in violation
 
Old 12-15-2003, 05:23 PM   #79
Wraith
Re: Us Fish & Wildlife Undercover Scam

Quote:
Originally posted by KNOBTAIL
she mentions about vendors being approached to buy some Scarlet Kings. Apparently 3 vendors were interested and they were cited with summonses for attempting to purchase these snakes without knowing whether the seller had a permit! The sellers were undercover wildlife people.

Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

Does anyone know for a fact if these people (potential buyers/potential sellers) actually exchanged money/animals with each other before the citations were issued?


*attempting to purchase*

Does this imply that the vendors in question were busted without any animals or money ever having exchanged hands and therefore no wrong doing actually occured?

I would think that the only way they can be busted over this is if they (the vendors) actually broke the law... busting someone because the authorities thought/assumed the person was going to go ahead and break the law is I should think not legal and unable to stand up in court. Just because someone is *interested* in an animal does not mean they have broken any laws.

Up until the moment that the animals/money are actually exchanged between buyer/seller no crime has been committed correct? It would only be if the animals/money have exchanged hands and the buyer had prior to that exchange failed to inquire if the seller had the proper permit would the law have been broken and therefore make the citiations issued proper.


Adrian
 
Old 12-15-2003, 05:40 PM   #80
Darin Chappell
"...busting someone because the authorities thought/assumed the person was going to go ahead and break the law is I should think not legal and unable to stand up in court."

Actually, conspiracy to commit a crime is a crime in itself, and does not require that the conspired upon act actually be committed for one to be culpable. If you and I conspire to commit murder, we cannot ask the judge to throw out the charges because our plans were discovered before we could act upon them.

Further, it is entirely possible for an undercover officer to serve as one member of the conspiracy. For instance, a woman in Texas wanted another woman killed (so the second woman's daughter would be too grief-stricken to be a cheerleader, and the first woman's daughter could be on the squad, no less!), and she got in touch with what she thought was a hitman. Actually, he was an undercover cop, and he was able to testify to what she wanted him to do. Obviously the murder did not take place, and the only one with whom this woman conspired was an officer. Even so, she is in prison in Texas today.

Just a thought ... I also think these are rather small potatos for the FL officials to be raking over the coals.
 

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