ACTION ALERTS, New Bills, Education Grant and more.
Action Alert: West Virginia
Repeal the Dangerous Wild Animals Act!
 
Click here for 2 Action Alerts: www.usark.org/2015-legislation/action-alert-west-virgina-sb-247/.

Now is your opportunity to make a difference. As we announced last Friday, SB 247 has been introduced by Senators Trump, Blair, Walters and Nohe, and is a bill to repeal the WV Dangerous Wild Animals Act. View the bill at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2015-WV-SB-247.pdf. It was referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. All WV residents on Facebook should Like and follow the WV Chapter of USARC page at www.facebook.com/pages/WV-Chapter-of-USARC.

A late 2014 update covering USARK's work on the WV DWA Act can be read at http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=d7e8c81109173978c4240862c&id=4f9ebe7935.

We also posted another WV bill, SB 222. This bill places before the WV Legislature the Dangerous Wild Animal (DWA) rule that was proposed last 
year by the WV Department of Agriculture (on behalf of the DWA Board). SB 222 takes the rule proposed by the DWA Board and amends it to remove the animals that were recommended to be removed by the WV Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee in November. For example, through the work of USARK and the Reptile Nation, this bill removes all constrictor snakes from the DWA list. However, current efforts should be focused upon SB 247 above. We'll have additional information in a future newsletter.

Action Alert: Texas Big Cat and Primate Owners
 
We have confirmed that there will be work done this session regarding exotic animal legislation. USARK has been in contact with Representative Guillen's office who introduced a bill in 2013 (viewable at https://legiscan.com/TX/text/HB1015/2013) regulating big cats and primates that was supported by HSUS. That bill did not pass.
 
We have been informed from Representative Guillen's office that the new bill will target large cats and primates. Anti-pet groups contend that the current regulations are non-uniform and subject to the discretion of the county government. Reptiles and amphibians will not be included in the new legislation that will be discussed at an upcoming meeting. Any exotic keepers able to attend should contact Benjamin Wright through the contact information below.

"The goal of the upcoming stakeholder meeting is to gather all interested parties and discuss a potential compromise upon which private animal owners, animal rights groups, counties, and the various state agencies can all agree." 

Texas law currently requires owners of these animals to register them with the municipal or county animal control office or sheriff. The bill introduced in 2013 proposed many issues for affected exotic animal keepers, even if they responsibly and legally kept the animals.

Below is contact information for Guillen's Legislative Director who will be working on this issue and holding a meeting on 1/22/15 at 8:30 AM. Contact Benjamin Wright for more details. We encourage all exotic animal keepers to attend, if possible. Remember to be professional and civil at all times.

While reptiles and amphibians will likely not be included in a new bill, we must remain vigilant. Herpers should also support other exotic animal pet communities. USARK will provide updates as they become available.

Benjamin Wright
Legislative Director
Office of State Representative Ryan Guillen
ben.wright@house.state.tx.us
Office: 512.463.0416
 
Indiana SB 226

Indiana Senate Bill 226 has been introduced and assigned to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. USDA-licensed facilities that are currently exempt would be required to abide by State regulations. View SB 226 at http://usark.org/2015-legislation/in-sb-226/.

SB 226 would no longer allow licensed commercial animal dealers to be exempt from holding state wild animal permits. It would also allow IN DNR to write one blanket permit for all "wild animals" at one location, as opposed to one permit for each animal. 

View the current Indiana Wild Animal Law at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-WildAnimalPossessionPermitReg.pdf. Permits are required for venomous reptiles and crocodilians over 5′ in Indiana, as well as some mammals (viewable at link).

If you would like contact legislators concerning this bill, the contact information for the Senate Committee on Natural Resources can be found at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/committees/natural_resources.
 
SnakeDays Grant
 
For the first time, SnakeDays will be offering a Student Research Grant, which we plan to offer
yearly going forward. For those not aware of the event, SnakeDays is an educational gathering held in Sanderson, TX every summer which focuses on the herpetofauna of west Texas and the importance of contributions made by citizen science. In addition to a day of lectures, we have a fundraiser which, to date, has raised over $25,000 that has gone directly to herp conservation and research.

For more information on the grant, click here: 
http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SnakeDays-Student-Research-Grant-2015-PDF.pdf.

First H.E.R.P.S. Show Hits Houston

Head over and support this show! It happens January 24-25 in Conroe, TX. Be sure to visit the TXARK and USARK booths. Texas herpers should be proud to have TXARK getting organized to be ready for legislative battles and work on currently over-reaching ordinances.

Thanks to volunteers Gillian and Dan for covering the USARK booth. Show details at 
www.herpshow.net and www.facebook.com/HERPShow.

"Come join us for the first annual HERPS Show in North Houston. Browse hundreds of vendor tables that will include thousands of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, feeders, and other exotic pets. There will be educational talks both days, as well as a silent auction to benefit TxARK."
 
USARK/TTPG Membership Drive
 
Click to Join!
Save $10 and support two groups. USARK has teamed with the TURTLE and TORTOISE PRESERVATION GROUP (TTPG) for a joint membership drive! By supporting both, you are protecting your freedom to keep reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates as pets, as well as helping to save endangered turtles and tortoises. Get details and join at www.usark.org/product/usarkttpg-membership-drive/. See larger promo at bottom.

You get 2 FREE shirts, FREE Batagur issue, FREE Bumper sticker and more!
 

Reptile Events
 
H.E.R.P.S. - Houston Exotic Reptile and Pet Show: January 24th-25th in Conroe, TX. Show details at www.herpshow.net and www.facebook.com/HERPShow.
 
New England Reptile Expo: January 25 in Manchester, NH. Show details at www.reptileexpo.com/nefirst.htm.

Indiana Reptile Breeders' Expo: January 25 in Columbus, IN. More details at www.irbexpo.com.

Repticon Orlando: January 31-Feb.1 in Orlando, FL. Show details at www.repticon.com.

Kentucky Reptile Expo: January 31 in Shepherdsville, KY. More details at www.kentuckyreptileexpo.com/.
 
Cin City Reptile Show: February 1 in Mason, OH. More details at www.cincityreptileshow.com.

Cold Blooded Expo: February 1 in Broken Arrow, OK. Show details at www.coldbloodedexpos.com/ok-reptile-expo/.

NARBC: February 7-8 in Arlington, TX. Show details at www.narbc.com/Arlington/arlington.html.

New York Metro Reptile Expo: February 8th in White Plains, NY. Show details at www.reptileexpo.com/nyfirst.htm.

Midwest Reptile Show: March 1 in Indianapolis, IN. Show details at www.midwestreptile.com/index.php.

Cold Blooded Expo: March 8 in Overland Park, KS. Show details at www.coldbloodedexpos.com/kc-reptile-show/.

NARBC: March 14-15 in Tinley Park, IL. Show details at www.narbc.com/Tinley/tinley_park.html.

All Ohio Reptile Show: Feb. 14 in Hilliard, OH. More details at www.allohioreptileshows.webs.com.

Lone Star Reptile Expo: March 20-21 in Arlington, TX. Show details at www.lonestarreptileexpos.com/home.html and www.facebook.com/LSRExpos.

PACNWRS - Pacific Northwest Reptile & Exotic Animal Show: March 28-29 in Hillsboro, OR. Show details at www.pacnwrs.com.

Texas Rattlesnake Festival: April 11-12 in Round Rock, TX. Details at www.texasrattlesnakefestival.com.

OKC Elite Reptile Show: May 9-10 in Oklahoma City, OK. Show details soon at www.okcelitereptileshow.com.

International Herpetological Symposium: May 27-30 in San Antonio, TX. Details at www.internationalherpetologicalsymposium.com.

Snake Days: June 12-14 in Sanderson, TX. This is a lecture/field herping event. Details and more at www.snakedays.com.

Reptile Super Show: July 18-19 in San Diego, CA. Show details at www.reptilesupershow.com.

Portland Metro Reptile Expo: August 29 in Portland, OR. Show details at www.nwreptileexpos.com/portland-metro-reptile-expo.


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