Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Florida Law Makes Exotic Pet Ownership More Expensive

While the most frequently reported news this past legislative session focused on all things property tax and insurance related, Senate Bill 2766 quietly wiled its way to Governor Crist's signing desk. The law dealing with exotic pets went into effect on July 1st and it requires, among other things, owners of Class I wildlife to have a $10,000 bond or insurance policy in place. The staff analysis, which is worth a gander, also notes that it will amend the requirement for licensing of venomous reptiles to include those persons that capture, keep, or transport such reptiles, while giving the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission additional rulemaking authority.

While that's all well and good, the best thing is that it will protect both people and animals. According to Keith Lovett of the Palm Beach Zoo, the bill protects animals and people from those who can not care for the creatures properly. "Having this law makes it more difficult for people to acquire these animals in the first place. It is very important, and it helps not only the animals, but the people who live around these animals because safety is definitely a concern," Lovett said.

16 comments:

Laurella said...

Many exotic animal owners do not believe this law will protect either the animals or the public. First of all, statistics on exotic animal incidents in Florida indicate that these "incident" are primarily associated with owners, keepers and trainers, not any members of the public. Second, how is this excessive fee going to help anyone...except those who receive the money and those who provide the
"insurance"? Third, the addition of ALL Class I animals to this "python bill" provided for little public input. Further, the legislators can hardly find amongst themselves anyone who will take responsibility for this addition. It is strictly beneficial to the animal rights agenda of elimination of animal ownership, not the public nor the animals. Florida has the best regulations on the housing of exotic animals of any state and a very good record on compliance by animal owners. This new regulation is based on fear not reality.

Laurella Desborough

Eileen said...

Very Well Put Laurella. Incidents regarding exotics in FL are few and far between. And most incidents which did occur were escapes/sighting where no one was hurt, and animals were safely captured. All these laws being pushed now are to remove OUR RIGHT to own the animals of our choosing. Watch out dog and cat owners you WILL be next!

brittany said...

The American flag isn't a tool that was meant to get you what you want, so don't go waving it around, claiming your rights are being taken away just because something isn't working out in your favor. A really good part of the bill is that it is trying to limit the amount of people who own these animals, since they should not be in the care of private citizens.

And saying that Florida's rights are the best in the country clearly isn't saying much as the conditions that animals are allowed to "live" in (if you can call that living) are disgraceful. I think that it is shameful to assume that simply because we are human, we can enslave whatever we wish.

Laurella said...

Well, Brittany, using the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as a point of argument is important.
We are seeing our rights eroded on a consistent basis by the emotion- laden and short-on-facts efforts of those who want NO animals kept or owned. And, as to the comment that the animals are not well cared for, that is a comment not based on fact. Most serious dedicated animal owners have spent a great deal of time and effort in educating themselves about the proper care and housing for their specific animal species. That includes attending seminars, conferences and participating in species-specific discussion groups in order to stay abreast of the latest information about their animals.

And, to state that these animals should NOT be in the care of private citizens...well, that is YOUR opinion. It is not the opinion of the many hundreds of people who have spent a lifetime working with exotics. These are the people who know the animals and their needs. In many cases, these are the people who will likely be responsible for saving the species, since habitat loss is occurring at a faster pace, world wide. This threatens every kind of bird, animal, reptile and even plant.

Enslave? Keeping and caring for an animal is not enslavement. Most of these domestic raised animals have a healthier and longer life in captivity than they would in the wild.

Comparing animals to humans is strictly an "animal rights" approach...and we all know the main purpose of the animal rights agenda is to ELIMINATE ALL ANIMAL USES...including pets.

If you don't want a pet python, great. Don't buy one. But, if someone else wants one, that is THEIR BUSINESS, not yours. As long as the animal owners comply with state regulations, that is all that should be expected.

becu said...

Laurella,
IT IS MY business when an exotic animal owner looses a python PET!!! The fact that the law is very good and the owner has to pay a lot of money in one or another form, does not help the children eaten in thier backyard by their neighbor's "PET"!!!! ... And they may be responsible owners, but as any human being, they can make mistakes; accidents happen all the time and they are not less likely to happen because they are more expensive. I didn't quite understand what you meant by "ELIMINATE ALL ANIMAL USES...including pets". Did you mean that cats and dogs to not be pets? then what?
Eileen,
do YOU want to be THE only one case in a whole year?
Laurella,
the python is NOT a species who needs help!!! Far from it!!

Laurella said...

Becu...

Now, if you think some child is going to be "eaten" by a python in their own back yard...I would recommend that you REVIEW the statistics on children killed by PETS in their own backyard. I think those numbers do not include any children killed by pythons....only dogs. And, WHY do children die from dog attacks?? Irresponsible parents who are either not monitoring their dogs or their children.

This whole python episode is another media extravaganza... based on hype and not facts. Obviously some legislators and officials are looking for PR, votes and perhaps federal dollars for Florida.

Now as to my comment about the elimination of pets...yes. The animal rights agenda is focused on eliminating cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, rabbits, turtles and snakes. This is not news. See www.exposeanimalrights.com

As regards to the rights of US citizens. The Constitution of the US does provide for citizens to exercise their rights as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others.

Patty said...

Im sorry but going to a conference and learning about exotic animals does not mean keeping them captive to satisfy your ego is right. Your rights? What about the animals? That should be the true concern if you truly cared so much for the animal's well-being. It is sad to see these beautiful animals kept for other purposes than preserving and protecting them.

Laurella said...

Patti, you are sorely misinformed if you think people are keeping exotic animals for their egos! Many who keep exotic animals have a good background in biology and are very interested in the natural behavior of specific wild species. The information that is gathered from the keeping and breeding of various types of exotic animals has provided the field biologists working on conservation projects with the kind of information they need. For example, when researchers in Africa were studying the Brown headed parrot, they sent out a message on the internet asking for input on the incubation and developmental time lines of the young birds. Because individuals were breeding these birds they were able to supply accurate data, accompanied by photos, to these scientists to assist in their work. This is just ONE example. Additionally, people who care about exotic animals as pets are often those who are routinely donating hundreds of dollars to various conservation projects. When people have a personal relationship with an animal species they are more inclined to try to find ways to help that species in the wild. Again, keep in mind that the majority of exotic animals kept by humans are going to live a longer healthier life than they would in the wild.

Patty said...

Misinformed? You don't seem to realize that keeping a wild animal in captivity is not natural. It is unfortunate that individuals do not see the harm in this. Some egos are so big they blind people from humanity but this was not meant to be a battle of intelligence. I do not doubt you know a great deal. I just feel that when individuals try to take wild animals out of their natural environment to serve their own purposes, there is a problem. It is the sad truth that many take on an exotic animal as a pet because they are captivated by them and end up not being able to properly care for them. I agree with rehabilitation and efforts to ensure our planet does not lose species to extinction, but I am talking about individuals who try to make them pets. Studying behavior in the WILD is one thing. Capturing them for a pet is another. As for rights being taken away...really. Making it more expensive will hopefully deter exotic animals being kept as pets. Lets face it, tigers for example are beautiful and captivating, but are not just big lap kitties. Please do not take this as a personal attack, Laurella, just my view of this subject.

Laurella said...

I do not take it as a personal attack. But I am concerned that for all the individuals who read these messages that they may not be getting the whole picture. Here is an example: In order to be able to accurately study the incubation and rearing process of a parrot, you cannot daily climb up a hundred feet on a tree and check the eggs in the nest, and later the chicks, for a period of four or five months. Instead the whole study can be conducted in a safe, secure, appropriately configured environment in captivity. The information obtained does assist the conservation workers in the wild. That is just one example. Regarding the tigers. They are being so hunted in the wild for body parts and skins that there may actually be more living in captivity...and living a healthier and safer life, than living in the wild. The situation for animals in the wild is serious. I would be the FIRST to say that IF the animals in the wild were safe, leave them there. But, sadly, that is no longer the case. Human populations expanding, multi-national corporations exploring and excavating and controlling forests and minerals are eliminating the habitats for many creatures and plant species. So, those who are well cared for in captivity may well be the basic gene pool for future populations of many exotic animal species. That has already been the case for some of the antelope type creatures from the Mid east, and for some pheasant and waterfowl species. Captive populations have been bred and released into their native lands. Much of this work is unpublicized or not big news.

Patty said...

But while what you say may be true in many instances, many individuals are keeping these animals as pets in a confined, not-natural environment because they find them interesting. True, some are making tremendous efforts to help these animals and protect them, but the truth is that there are too many others that are only keeping them as pets. They are not helping the species survive. It is a fact that there are more tigers in the US than in the wild because of poachers and other environmental factors, but how many are kept as large house pets? This is not an organized effort to keep the species alive. Most of these people are isolated and end up not having the funds to continue caring for them. And when they or someone else is attacked, the animal is put down. Or a python gets larger than the person can handle and lets them go in the backyard. Im all for efforts to keep species alive for as long as possible, but bringing a huge wild animal into a private home for no other purpose than a pet is wrong. Thats all im saying. Thats why I think it is good it is more expensive to deter these certain individuals who are not adding anything beneficial, but really harming these animals in the long run. People need to respect nature. These people that make wild animals pets are caught up in the novelty of owning such an animal that they lose sight of this.

Laurella said...

Actually, I do not know of anyone who keeps a pet tiger in their home! Now there are people who keep and breed tigers and lions, but these animals have their own environments, designed to make sure the animal cannot escape. This is a public safety issue and as such, responsible exotic animal owners follow the standards for housing these creatures. As far as whether or not keeping them as pets is bad for the animal and bad for society, that is a matter of opinion. In the case of the pythons, I doubt anyone is going to turn a huge python lose because that huge python is worth considerable money and if the owner tires of it, he can take it to one of the reptile shows and sell it for a nice sum. In the case of the Burmese pythons in Florida everglades, I think the field biologists who specialize in reptiles have indicated that these critters are likely escapees from the time of Hurricane Andrew, since DNA tests indicate there are only a few variations in the genetic make up. Consider that the media are quick to write stories about huge pythons and dangerous tigers. Meanwhile many people are killed by horses and cattle, and few of those stories ever reach the national media. Nothing exciting there. With the Burmese pythons, the recent extremely cold winter took out a lot of those reptiles since they are native to wet humid tropical jungle, not an environment where the seasons can bring temperatures below freezing. The recent cold spell in Florida was fatal for many pythons.

Patty said...

Really? You don't think people release pythons outside? And you don't know anyone with a tiger as a pet? You mean you just really don't know anything. You must live in your own little world. Come to think of it, you are actually one of these people I talk about. Sad for you. Now I realize you are dumber than I thought and thus you must argue and not let anyone just voice their opinion as you have done. I waste my time with your head-in-the-clouds ideas. But for all others, this is my opinion on why it is not the end of the world that it is more expensive to keep an exotic pet. And that it may actually deter these kinds of people. This is my final post. Please respect nature and her beautiful wildlife.

Laurella said...

Whenever individuals resort to personal attacks, that is a sure sign they have no more real arguments to present. This issue is too important for personal attacks. The issue involves not only the animals and their proper care, it involves responsibility on the part of the animal owners, and also the responsibility of the members of the general public to RESPECT the work of those who do keep and care for exotics. That may include some who are simply pet owners, but also includes many who do a lot more than simply keep a pet. They contribute to the data base on exotics and some contribute to the future survival of many different exotics. The world is made a better place because of their work. We must also remember that there is a cult movement (called animal rights) against the keeping and breeding of ANY animals...and that cult movement has not only hindered the forward movement of science, it has continuously propagandized the general public to the point people are persuaded to vote against important work with animals that are beneficial to humans.

Patty said...

It is not that there are no more arguments to present. It is the fact that you continue to deny the very truth of what often goes on. Pythons do get released and tigers are kept in very unnatural conditions as pets. There is no point in arguing with you because you are in denial of the truth and are naive to think everything is great and in the best interest of the animals. You speak of cults and propaganda, but you are spreading your own. No one here was trying to encourage voting against beneficial animal work. If you read the headline, it is about making "exotic pet ownership more expensive."

southtexascowboy1880 said...

Almost forgot its amasing we can hunt trap an kill these same animals for skin food but OMG don't you go having one as a loves an cherrised pet! But hey by all means let's throw some bans in place while were at let's just ban all ownership of animals period if were gonna do it an esp do it for public safety let's be equal an fair minded about it! I don't walk my alligators or reticulated pythons down the street but I've had more than a few run is with a foolish dog owner and an aggressive dog made to be by said ignorant owner so let's ban dogs while were at it I know ill feel safer what with all the dog attacks in the news an paper every day an yes I own a few dogs an horses myself but I do see this as a one sided attack against herps an that's my opinion!