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 Virginia Potential Ban on Exotic Animal Ownership

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gatorgalobx
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PostSubject: Virginia Potential Ban on Exotic Animal Ownership    Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:54 pm

Hi.... I just wanted to let everyone on here know that right now there is bill the state is trying to pass to ban the ownership of certain "dangerous" exotic wildlife. This is NOT the same ban that was just passed for the pythons. The bill is attached at the end of this message. Everyone that owns a snake should write or call your senators and speak up. It starts with a few species and soon after snowballs into every species of snake, lizard, etc. PLEASE don't rely on others to speak up. This will affect all of us snake owners in one way or another. Senator emails/phone numbers are:

Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R) - Senate District 24 district24@senate.virginia.gov (804) 698-7524
Senator John C. Watkins (R) - Senate District 10 district10@senate.virginia.gov (804) 698-7510
Phillip P. Puckett (D) - Senate District 38 (804) 698-7538 district38@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr. (R) - Senate District 15 (804) 698-7515 district15@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Harry B. Blevins (R) - Senate District 14 (804) 698-7514 district14@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R) - Senate District 26 (804) 698-7526 district26@senate.virginia.gov
Senator A. Donald McEachin (D) - Senate District 9 (804) 698-7509 district09@senate.virginia.gov
Senator J. Chapman Petersen (D) - Senate District 34 (804) 698-7534 district34@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Ralph S. Northam (D) - Senate District 6 (804) 698-7506 district06@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Richard H. Stuart (R) - Senate District 28 (804) 698-7528 district28@senate.virginia.gov
Senator David W. Marsden (D) - Senate District 37 (804) 698-7537 district37@senate.virginia.gov
Senator William M. Stanley, Jr. (R) - Senate District 20 (804) 698-7520 district20@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Richard H. Black (R) - Senate District 13 (804) 698-7513 district13@senate.virginia.gov
Senator John C. Miller (D) - Senate District 1 (804) 698-7501 district01@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Adam P. Ebbin (D) - Senate District 30 (804) 698-7530 district30@senate.virginia.gov


If you call, say, "I want to register an opinion on SB 477." The intern or whomever is answering (it won't be the senator) will respond, and you simply say, "Please tell the senator to vote no. This bill will negatively affect my family (or your job if that applies to you!)"

SENATE BILL NO. 477
Offered January 11, 2012
Prefiled January 11, 2012
A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 5 of Title 29.1 an article numbered 8, consisting of sections numbered 29.1-578 through 29.1-586, relating to possession of dangerous wild animals.
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Patron-- Lucas
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Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
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Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding in Chapter 5 of Title 29.1 an article numbered 8, consisting of sections numbered 29.1-578 through 29.1-586, as follows:

Article. 8.
Dangerous Wild Animals.
§ 29.1-578. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Dangerous wild animal" means any individual animal of the following scientific classifications:

1. Class Mammalia.

a. Order Carnivora.

(1) Family Canidae: red wolves (Canis rufus) and gray wolves (Canis lupus), including wolf-dog hybrids.

(2) Family Felidae: lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), snow leopards (Panthera uncia), jaguars (Panthera onca), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), cougars/pumas/mountain lions (Puma concolor), including hybrids thereof.

(3) Family Ursidae: all species of bears.

(4) Family Hyaenidae: all species of hyena and aardwolf.

b. Order Primates: all species excluding humans.

c.Order Proboscidea: all species of elephants.

2. Class Reptilia.

a. Order Crocodylia: all species of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and gharials.

b. Order Squamata.

(1) Family Atractaspididae: all species, such as mole vipers.

(2) Family Boidae: anacondas (Genus Eunectes), boa constrictors (Boa constrictor), Burmese pythons (Python molurus), reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus), amethystine pythons (Morelia amethistina), scrub pythons (Morelia kinghorni), Northern African pythons (Python sebae), Southern African pythons (Python natalensis).

(3) Family Colubridae: boomslangs (Dispholidus typus), twig snakes (genus Thelotornis).

(4) Family Elapidae: all species, such as cobras, mambas, and coral snakes.

(5) Family Hydrophiidae: all species, such as sea snakes.

(6) Family Viperidae: all species, such as rattlesnakes, pit vipers, and puff adders.

"Law-enforcement officer" means State Police officers, conservation police officers, Virginia Marine Police, local law-enforcement officers , animal control officers, as defined in § 3.2-6555, and humane investigators, as defined in § 3.2-6558.

"Wildlife sanctuary" means a nonprofit organization that:

1. Operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned, or displaced animals are provided care for the lifetime of the animal;

2. 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;

3. Does not use dangerous wild animals for entertainment purposes or in a traveling exhibit;

4. Does not breed any dangerous wild animals; and

5. Does not allow members of the public the opportunity to come into contact with dangerous wild animals.

§ 29.1-579. Possession, sale, transfer, and breeding of dangerous wild animals unlawful.

It is unlawful for any person to possess, sell, transfer, or breed a dangerous wild animal.

§ 29.1-580. Exemptions.

The provisions of § 29.1-579 shall not apply to:

1. Institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and facilities that have an active contractual relationship with an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for breeding of species listed as threatened or endangered pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1533.

2. Research facilities, as defined in the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2132(e)).

3. Wildlife sanctuaries.

4. Duly incorporated nonprofit animal protection organizations, including humane societies and shelters, temporarily housing a dangerous wild animal at the written request of law-enforcement officers acting under the authority of this article.

5. Licensed veterinary hospitals for the purpose of providing treatment to a dangerous wild animal.

6. Law-enforcement officers for purposes of enforcement.

7. A person temporarily transporting a legally owned dangerous wild animal through the state if:

a. The transit time is not more than 24 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 such that there is no opportunity for physical contact with any member of the public; or

b. The transit time is not more than 14 days, the transporter is incorporated and federally licensed for purposes of animal exhibition, the transporter is transporting at least 10 dangerous wild animals, and the dangerous wild animals are maintained at all times in a species-appropriate enclosure such that there is no opportunity for physical contact with any member of the public. Such transporters shall provide notice of the transport to the Department at least 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth, by identifying the number and type of dangerous wild animals that will be transported. This notification is in addition to any veterinary certificate or other permits required by state, local, or federal law.

§ 29.1-581. Conditions for allowable continued possession.

The provisions of § 29.1-579 shall not apply to persons who lawfully possessed a dangerous wild animal prior to July 1, 2012, provided that such person:

1. Shall maintain veterinary records, acquisition papers, or other documents or records that establish that the person possessed the animal prior to July 1, 2012;

2. Shall not acquire additional dangerous wild animals after July 1, 2012, whether by purchase, donation, or breeding;

3. Shall not have been convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect of any animal pursuant to any state, local, or federal law;

4. 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;

5. Shall not allow members of the public any opportunity to come into physical contact with a dangerous wild animal;

6. Shall register with, and pay a registration fee to, the Department by September 1, 2012, and annually thereafter, indicating the number of animals of each dangerous wild animal species in his possession, and showing proof of liability insurance in an amount of not less than $100,000, with a deductible of not more than $250, for each occurrence of property damage, bodily injury, or death caused by any dangerous wild animal possessed by the person; and

7. At least 72 hours prior to the sale or transfer of an existing dangerous wild animal, shall notify the Department, identifying the recipient of the animal. The possession, sale, transfer, and transport of the dangerous wild animal shall conform to all applicable state, local, and federal laws.

§ 29.1-582. Seizure.

A. Law-enforcement officers shall, upon probable cause, seize any or all dangerous wild animals possessed in violation of this article.

B. Upon judicial determination that (i) the seized animals are dangerous wild animals and (ii) the owner of the seized animals is violating provisions of this article with regard to those seized dangerous wild animals, then such dangerous wild animals seized under this article shall be deemed forfeited.

C. Dangerous wild animals seized and deemed forfeited shall be placed in the custody and control of an institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums or a wildlife sanctuary. If the law-enforcement officer, 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.

D. Dangerous wild animals seized but not deemed forfeited shall be kept in the custody of an institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a wildlife sanctuary, or a temporary holding facility identified in subdivision 4 of § 29.1-580, until disposition of the seized dangerous wild animals.

§ 29.1-583. Filing of petition; judicial determination; posting of security.

A. The accredited zoo, wildlife sanctuary, or temporary holding facility having custody of the 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 shall be in an amount sufficient to secure payment of all reasonable expenses expected to be incurred by the accredited zoo, wildlife sanctuary, or temporary holding facility in caring for and providing for the dangerous wild animal pending the disposition of the animal. A reasonable expense includes 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 the recommendation of the impounding organization 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, or temporary holding facility may draw from the security the actual costs incurred in caring for the seized dangerous wild animal.

B. Upon receipt of a petition, the court shall set a hearing on the petition, to be conducted within five business days after the petition is filed. The petitioner shall serve a true copy of the petition upon the owner of the dangerous wild animal and the state or local law-enforcement entity that seized the dangerous wild animal. The petitioner shall 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 shall set a hearing date to determine any interested parties. The court may waive for good cause shown the posting of security.

C. If the court orders the posting of security, the security shall be posted with the clerk of the court within five business days after the hearing. If the person ordered to post security does not do so, the dangerous wild animal is deemed forfeited and the accredited zoo, wildlife sanctuary, or temporary holding facility having custody of the dangerous wild animal shall have legal custody and control over the dangerous wild animal.

D. 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.

§ 29.1-584. Voluntary relinquishment.

Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the voluntary, permanent relinquishment of any dangerous wild animal by its owner to an institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums or a wildlife sanctuary in lieu of posting security. Voluntary relinquishment shall have no effect on any criminal charges that may be pursued by the appropriate authorities.

§ 29.1-585. Adoption of regulations.

The Board shall adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this article. The regulations shall include the (i) adoption of registration fees on a sliding scale depending on the number of dangerous wild animals a person possesses on July 1, 2012, and (ii) expansion of the definition of dangerous wild animal. However, such regulations shall not amend the list of exempted entities in § 29.1-580. The Board shall file the regulations with the Registrar of Regulations pursuant to § 2.2-4103.

§ 29.1-586. Penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this article or regulation adopted thereunder is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
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PostSubject: Re: Virginia Potential Ban on Exotic Animal Ownership    Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:57 pm

If you want to email them all in one shot:

district24@senate.virginia.gov, district10@senate.virginia.gov, district38@senate.virginia.gov, district15@senate.virginia.gov, district14@senate.virginia.gov, district26@senate.virginia.gov, district09@senate.virginia.gov, district34@senate.virginia.gov, district06@senate.virginia.gov, district28@senate.virginia.gov, district37@senate.virginia.gov, district20@senate.virginia.gov, district13@senate.virginia.gov, district01@senate.virginia.gov, district30@senate.virginia.gov
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ladycrotalus
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PostSubject: Re: Virginia Potential Ban on Exotic Animal Ownership    Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:05 am

They added more to the snakes.

HOUSE BILL NO. 1242
Offered January 20, 2012
A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 5 of Title 29.1 an article numbered 8, consisting of sections numbered 29.1-578 through 29.1-586, relating to the ownership of dangerous wild animals; penalty.
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Patron-- Peace
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Committee Referral Pending
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Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding in Chapter 5 of Title 29.1 an article numbered 8, consisting of sections numbered 29.1-578 through 29.1-586, as follows:
Article 8.
Conditions on the Ownership of Dangerous Wild Animals.

§ 29.1-578. Possession, sale, transfer, and breeding of certain animals.

It is unlawful for any person to possess, sell, transfer, or breed any of the following animals:

1. Order Carnivora:

a. Family Canidae: all species and hybrids of the genera Canis (wolves and related species), Cuon (dholes), Lycaon (African wild dogs), and Chrysocyon (maned wolves); excluding Canis lupus familiaris (domestic dogs) and Canis lupus familiaris hybrids.

b. Family Felidae: all species and hybrids of the family Felidae (all felids); excluding Felis catus (domestic cats) and Felis catus hybrids.

c. Family Ursidae: all species and hybrids of bears.

d. Family Hyaenidae: all species of hyena and aardwolf.

2. Order Crocodilia: all species of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and gharials.

3. Order Primates: all species and hybrids of apes, galagos, lemurs, lorises, and monkeys, excluding humans.

4. Order Proboscidea: all species of elephants.

5. Order Squamata:

a. Family Atractaspididae: all species and hybrids, such as mole vipers.

b. Family Boidae, to include all species that may be described as family Pythonidae: all species and hybrids of the genera Apodora (pythons), Eunectes (anacondas), Liasis (pythons), Morelia (pythons), and Python (pythons); excluding Morelia viridis (green tree pythons), Python anchietae (Angolan pythons), and Python regius (ball or royal pythons).

c. Family Colubridae: all species and hybrids of the genera Dispholidus (boomslangs), Rhabdophis (keelbacks), and Thelotornis (twig snakes).

d. Family Elapidae, to include all species that may be described as family Hydrophiidae: all species and hybrids, such as cobras, mambas, coral snakes, and sea snakes.

e. Family Viperidae: all species and hybrids, such as rattlesnakes, pit vipers, and puff adders.

§ 29.1-579. Exemptions.

The provisions of § 29.1-578 shall not apply to:

1. Facilities accredited or certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, facilities that have an active contractual relationship with an American Association of Zoos and Aquariums 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 American Association of Zoos and Aquariums that have a letter of understanding with a mentor institution that is renewed annually.

2. Research facilities, as defined in the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2132(e)).

3. Facilities accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries with an accreditation status appropriate for the animals held.

4. Circuses, defined as incorporated Class C licensees under the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2134), that are temporarily in the Commonwealth and that offer scheduled performances by live animals.

5. Federal, state, or local government facilities or agents holding an animal for official purposes.

6. Licensed veterinary establishments temporarily holding an animal for the purpose of providing veterinary treatment.

7. A person temporarily transporting an animal through the state if the transit time is not more than 24 hours, the animal is not exhibited, and the animal is maintained at all times in a species-appropriate cage or other travel container such that there is no opportunity for physical contact with any member of the public.

§ 29.1-580. Conditions for allowable continued possession.

The provisions of § 29.1-578 shall not apply to persons who possessed such an animal prior to July 1, 2012, provided that such person:

1. Shall maintain veterinary records, acquisition papers, or other documents or records that establish that the person possessed the animal prior to July 1, 2012;

2. Shall not acquire additional such animals after July 1, 2012, whether by purchase, transfer, donation, or reproduction;

3. Shall not have been convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect of any animal pursuant to any federal, state, or local law;

4. Shall not have had a license or permit regarding the care, possession, exhibition, breeding, or sale of animals revoked or suspended by any federal, state, or local agency;

5. Shall not fail to keep the animal properly confined;

6. Shall not allow members of the public any opportunity to come into physical contact with the animal;

7. Shall register with, and pay a registration fee to, the Department by July 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, indicating the number and species of such animals in his possession and showing proof of liability insurance in an amount of not less than $250,000 for property damage, bodily injury, or death caused by such animals; and

8. At least 72 hours prior to the sale or transfer of an existing dangerous wild animal, shall notify the Department, identifying the recipient of the animal. The possession, sale, transfer, and transport of the dangerous wild animal shall conform to all applicable state, local, and federal laws.

§ 29.1-581. Certain animals not properly confined.

Any animal described in § 29.1-578, excluding noncaptive native populations of wildlife, found to be not properly confined, whether on the property of the owner or running at large, may be humanely destroyed by law-enforcement or animal control officers, or other federal, state, or local agents, in order to protect public safety. The owner or custodian of such an animal will be liable for costs accrued to law-enforcement or animal control agencies in humanely destroying or otherwise securing any such animal.

§ 29.1-582. Forfeiture and disposition of animals possessed in violation of this article.

A. Law-enforcement and animal control officers shall, upon probable cause, impound any or all animals possessed in violation of this article. If such animal does not pose an immediate threat to public safety and is not suffering from apparent animal neglect or cruelty, the animal shall be considered impounded in its enclosure and shall be properly maintained and provided adequate care by the owner until judicial determination of forfeiture. If such animal poses an immediate threat to public safety or is suffering from apparent animal neglect or cruelty, the animal shall be seized by law-enforcement or animal control officers and held in a suitable federal, state, or local facility or other facility exempted from this article in § 29.1-579 until judicial determination of forfeiture.

B. Upon seizing or impounding an animal, the law-enforcement or animal control officer shall petition the general district court in the city or county where the animal is seized or impounded for a hearing. The hearing shall be not more than 10 business days from the date of the seizure or impoundment of the animal. The hearing shall be to determine whether the animal is possessed in violation of this article.

C. Upon judicial determination that (i) the seized or impounded animal is listed in § 29.1-578 and (ii) the owner of the seized or impounded animal is violating any provision of this article with regard to such animal, the animal shall be deemed forfeited.

D. Any animal judicially deemed forfeited pursuant to this article shall as soon as practicable be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian or humanely destroyed as recommended by a licensed veterinarian unless (i) a person legally able to possess the animal and willing and able to take immediate possession of the animal is identified prior to or at the forfeiture hearing, in which case the court may award such person ownership of the animal, or (ii) the court determines that the animal is listed in 50 C.F.R. 17.11 as protected under the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.), in which case such animal shall be ceded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

E. A court may order the owner of an animal seized pursuant to this article to post a bond in surety with the locality for the cost of caring for such animal for a period of time not to exceed nine months. If the court orders the posting of a bond in surety, the bond shall be posted with the clerk of the court within five business days after the hearing. If the person ordered to post the bond does not do so, the animal is deemed forfeited.

§ 29.1-583. Voluntary relinquishment.

Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the voluntary, permanent relinquishment of any animal by its owner to a person legally able to possess the animal and willing and able to take possession or have such animal euthanized by a licensed veterinarian in lieu of seizure or impoundment. Voluntary relinquishment shall have no effect on any criminal charges that may be pursued by the appropriate authorities concerning possession or treatment of the animal.

§ 29.1-584. Adoption of regulations.

The Board shall adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this article. The regulations shall include (i) the adoption of registration fees on a sliding scale depending on the number of dangerous wild animals a person possesses prior to July 1, 2012, and (ii) any additional exemptions to this article the Department deems necessary to facilitate management of native or naturalized wildlife.

29.1-585. Department to notify local officials.

The Department shall notify law enforcement officials and animal control officers of the presence in their locality of any lawfully possessed animal that is registered pursuant to subdivision 7 of § 29.1-580. The notice shall include the name of the owner of the animal, his address, and the species of the animal that is registered.

§ 29.1-586. Penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this article is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
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PostSubject: Re: Virginia Potential Ban on Exotic Animal Ownership    Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:18 am

There are now two Bills we need to fight one is Senate Bill 477 (SB 477) AND one in the House of Delegates HB 1242
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PostSubject: Re: Virginia Potential Ban on Exotic Animal Ownership    Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:38 pm

Feel free to copy and utilize the below letter to send to the applicable state senators/delegates.Just Change recipients title and clrify the bill (HB 1242 for Delegate. SB 477 for Senator).
Also there will be a large meeting hosted by a Hampton Roads reptile group this Tues. at 1100 in Short Pump Va ,please show up to support our cause!! I have copied and placed the info I have on the meeting below.
TRY to make the meeting VERY IMPORTANT ONE...This is the BIG one..Discovery UMC At 11:00 Am This tuesday 1300 Gayton Road Richmond Va 23233. RSVP at bearpathacres.com they will have name tags for you ....Or just show up...........




Dear, Virginia Delegate


I the undersigned party, being a Virginia resident, voter and taxpayer wish to express my strongest opposition to HB 1242 ,reference altering the states current regulations regarding which animals are deemed “ wild and dangerous”. I believe this legislation is not needed and is most certainly a political grandstanding action derived from the actions of a deranged person in Ohio. The current Virginia regulations in effect are more than adequate to protect all of our citizens. Current Virginia regulations restrict the ownership of multiple species (bear, wolf, tigers, lions, alligators, raccoons etc.), which the statute already deems “predatory or undesirable to the commonwealth” (VAC 15-30-40). The addition of primates and other reptiles to this roster would be completely unnecessary and produce an undue financial burden to many of Virginia’s citizens, who are already struggling. The responsible owners of these creatures should not be penalized for the actions of others, not even in the same state. Multiple Virginia local governments also have a plethora of restrictions in regards to exotic animal ownership. The federal government also regulates breeders and exhibitors of all exotic mammals and there is no need for additional mandates at the state level.
As for the Virginia statistics the Humane Society of the United States recently cited “exotic occurrences” entailed a total of only 7 cases from 2003-2011. These included x1 fatality (to an owner), 4 non-life- threatening injuries and 2 escapes (without injury of any kind) of these three of the incidents involved animals already restricted by Virginia statute. In contrast in Virginia in 2007 alone there were 4,346 dog bites (per Virginia Dept. of Health) and in 2009 alone there were three dog related fatalities in Virginia (DogBite.org). Nation-wide in 2011 there were 31 dog-related fatalities (DogBite.org). Yet we are not debating the merits of completely banning canines within the commonwealth.

Thank you for your time and attention regarding this matter.


Respectfully,
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