PRESS RELEASE: West Virginia Dangerous Wild Animal Act
October 9, 2014
For Immediate Release
Dangerous Wild Animal Board Violates Due Process
The review of West Virginia’s Dangerous Wild Animal Rule has violated due process and citizens should be upset!
More than 3 weeks ago, West Virginia’s Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee (LRMRC) began receiving affidavits documenting that hundreds of pages of public comments are missing from the official record for Proposed Rule 61-30 (Dangerous Wild Animal Rule) at http://apps.sos.wv.gov/adlaw/csr/readfile.aspx?DocId=26112&Format=PDF.
Of great concern is the fact that over 300 pages of crucial information that were submitted for review are missing from the official record. For example, 139 pages are missing from the 11 comments sent to the WV Department of Agriculture by WV USARC (a reptile and amphibian conservation group). In addition, USARK (a reptile and amphibian advocacy association) discovered that 132 pages are missing from its comment. The official record is also absent of comments submitted by numerous concerned and affected West Virginians. A quick inspection of the official record clearly indicates that numerous files attached to emails are missing and were therefore not reviewed. The above referenced comments contain substantial objections to Proposed Rule 61-30. See all missing comments and supporting documentation at http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/WV-Missing-Comments.pdf.
The LRMRC is required by law to determine whether a proposed legislative rule has been proposed for promulgation in compliance with the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. [See W. Va. Code § 29A-3-11(b)(7).] While fulfilling its obligation to review all legislative rules, the LRMRC has broad powers, including conducting investigations. [See W. Va. Code § 29A-3-10.] In State ex rel. White v. Parsons, [199 W. Va. 1, 10; 483 S.E.2d 1, 10 (1996)], the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that in a rule-making procedure, when an agency has before it substantial objections to the proposal made by interested persons, as a result of a comment period precedent to the approval of a regulation, the agency must conduct a good faith review of the objections and reflect the substance of that review on the rule-making record.
With respect to Proposed Rule 61-30, the Dangerous Wild Animal (DWA) Board provided no information when filing the rule on August 1, 2014 that reflects the substance of any review of any comments made during the 30-day comment period. Thus, the DWA Board violated the requirement in State ex rel. White v. Parsons of reflecting the substance of its review of substantial objections to Proposed Rule 61-30. Moreover, the fact that hundreds of pages of comments are missing is evidence that the DWA Board never reviewed those specific comments, at all. Therefore, the DWA Board appears to have also violated the requirement to meaningfully review substantial comments/objections.
In State ex rel. White v. Parsons, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia barred enforcement of the rule in that case and stated that the agency could propose and adopt appropriate replacement regulations. Accordingly, the LRMRC should inform the DWA Board that it needs to withdraw Proposed Rule 61-30, comply with all requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, and then resubmit its proposed rule with any appropriate amendments to reflect its meaningful review of all submitted comments. In addition, the LRMRC should also immediately institute an investigation to determine why so many pages of public comments are missing from the official record submitted to the LRMRC. Until an independent investigation has been thoroughly conducted, the citizens of West Virginia and the LRMRC itself have no way of knowing whether the missing comments were intentionally deleted, negligently omitted, or missing for some other reason.
What is clear is that the DWA Board has violated the law (Administrative Procedures Act) and the LRMRC has not responded to numerous affidavits providing evidence of the complete breakdown of the legislative rule-making process.
CONTACT: Media and press can contact USARK for additional information at Info@USARK.org.
End press release.
This press release is also posted online at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/WV-DWA-Press-Release-1.pdf
. West Virginia citizens who believe their comments were not included in the official record should also contact USARK at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RAACA Raffle III: Costa Rica!
Tickets are on sale now! There are four amazing prizes and this raffle is impressive. Buy tickets and get all details at www.raaca.net
. Ticket sales end Friday, October 31st at 6:00 PM PST/9:00 EST.
RAACA has provided a printable image at the bottom of this newsletter (click for larger version). This can be printed and displayed at retail stores and reptile shows to help raise money and support USARK. The smart phone scannable QR code makes it easy to buy tickets. Thanks, RAACA and donors!
1st Place Prize:
Trip for 2 to Costa Rica!
*Includes round trip flights & hotel expense
Also includes $1,000.00 cash!
Trip will be your choice of November (16th - 21st) OR (23rd - 28th) departure and return dates.
Guided field herping is optionally included (2 days) at no charge.
2nd Place Prize!
Ball & Boa Package
Female 2014 Leopard 66% Het Albino
Male Hypo 100% Het Leopard 66% Het Albino
$1,250.00 value Donated by David Nguyen
0.1 2014 Enchi Fire Fly Female 145 grams
$900.00 value Donated by: White Diamond Reptiles
3rd Place Prize!
$500 gift certificate to LLL Reptile (donated by LLL Reptile)
4th Place Prize!
$250.00 gift certificate to The Rodent Barn (donated by The Rodent Barn)
Custom Herp Quilt Raffle
Herp Education Trailer
The Southern California Herpetological Association and Rescue (SCHAR) is one of the most active herp societies in the country. They also donate many hours to help USARK. Jason and crew do dozens of educational events annually and have an opportunity to purchase an enclosed trailer which will save time and money by streamlining their efforts. Make tax-deductible donations and learn more at www.gofundme.com/schatrailer
Reptiles in the Classroom
(Brandon Fowler in California and Chris Law in Florida) are working to enrich the learning environment for children through their Classroom Reptile Pet Program. Get more information and donate at www.gofundme.com/d2l92k
. Thanks for getting out there, educating the public and supporting the herp community, Brandon and Chris!
Wounded Warrior Custom Cage Raffle
This is an impressive raffle featuring a custom display cage (photo below), loads of supplies and even a custom knife to benefit Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org
). Get all details and see photos of everything at www.facebook.com/frilledwarrior. For questions and payments, send an email to
frilledwarrior14@Hotmail.com. This is a $3,000+ value.
How to enter:
Bumper stickers for $10 ea. or 3 for $25. Each sticker is 1 entry.
Purchase a T-Shirt for 1 entry each. $10 of each shirt sold will be donated to Wounded Warrior.
2 styles: military green for $20 or black, gold, or pink digital camo for $25
The "Frilled Warrior" prize:
*Cage & Stand (total size is 4' x 6'4" x 2')
*New Guinea x Australian hybrid Frilled Dragon
*All heating and lighting
*Humidity and Temp Gauges
*Start-up feeder supply
*Custom knife donated by USARK President Phil Goss (photo below) with a custom leather sheath
*Free delivery anywhere in the lower 48 states
Important Recent Newsletters (in case you missed them)
Kentucky Reptile Expo: October 11 in Moorehead, KY. More details at www.kentuckyreptileexpo.com/
NARBC Tinley Park: October 11-12 in Tinley Park, IL. Show details at www.narbc.com/Tinley/tinley_park.html
All Ohio Reptile Show: October 11 in Hilliard, OH. More details at www.allohioreptileshows.webs.com.
New England Reptile Expo: October 12 in Manchester, NH. Show details at www.reptileexpo.com/nefirst.htm
Buffalo Niagara Reptile Expo: October 12 in Cheektowaga, NY. Show details at www.buffaloreptileexpo.com.
Cin City Reptile Show: October 12 in Mason, OH. More details at www.cincityreptileshow.com.
Midwest Herpetological Symposium: October 17-19 in Indianapolis, IN. Get more details at www.hoosierherpsoc.org/pdf/SymposiumBrochure.pdf
Midwest Reptile Show: October 19 in Indianapolis, IN. Show details at www.midwestreptile.com/index.php
Oklahoma Reptile Expo: October 19 in Broken Arrow, OK. Stop by the USARK booth and see Chris. Show details at www.coldbloodedexpos.com/ok-reptile-expo/
Long Island Reptile Expo: October 19 in Melville, NY. Show details at www.reptileexpo.com/lifirst.htm
OKC Elite Reptile Show: November 1-2 in Oklahoma City, OK. Show details at www.facebook.com/groups/253753711444323/ and www.okcelitereptileshow.com/
Tracy Reptile Show: November 1-2 in Tracy, CA. Show details at www.shedskin.net/Shedskin.net/2014_TRACY_REPTILE_EXPO.html.
Indiana Reptile Breeders' Expo: November 2 in Clarksville, IN. More details at www.irbexpo.com.
SEWERFEST Reptile Show: November 9 in Sturtevant, WI. Be sure to stop by the MAHS and USARK booths. Show details at www.sewerfest.com/