Saturday, 30 March 2013

NEW Illinois Herp Bill-Introduced – SB 2362 - via Herp Digest


On February 15, 2013, Illinois Senator Heather Steans introduced Senate Bill 2362.  SB 2362 as introduced was a shell bill, meaning that the substance of the ballot initiative was not filled out at the time of filing.

On March 8, 2013, the primary sponsor was changed to Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr.  On March 14th it was assigned to the Agriculture and Conservation Committee.

On March 15th, Senator Clayborne introduced his first amendment.  

SB 2362 is the first bill of its kind in the United States because it seeks to carve out all herpetofauna and to deal with them in a separate statutory section all to themselves.  It is a proposed “herp code.”  It states specifically that:

For purposes of this Act, reptiles and amphibians shall be exempt from the definition of “aquatic life” under Section 1-20 of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code. All rules and enforcement actions under the Illinois Conservation Law and the dangerous animals provisions in Section 48-10 of the Criminal Code of 2012 related to reptiles and amphibians shall be covered exclusively by this Act.

Under current Illinois law, it is illegal to privately keep any venomous or life threatening reptile.  The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that pythons of 15′ in length are life threatening and therefore illegal.

SB 2362 would lift the prohibition on large constrictors currently in place, and instead proposes certain “captive maintenance requirements” as set forth in the bill are met.

SB 2362 would also make it legal to keep certain venomous snakes, crocodilians, Komodo dragons and crocodile monitor lizards with a permit only if used for bona fide educational purposes.

SB 2362 makes it unlawful to buy, sell or offer to sell any aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles with a carapace of under 4″ or their eggs in the state.  This means that the Illinois State Department of Natural Resources could enforce the 4″ provision of aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles without USDA.

SB 2362 imposes insurance requirements and liability on owners of all of the “special use herptiles” within the bill and provides for criminal and civil penalties for noncompliance.

Exemptions:

Public zoos or aquaria accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums;
Licensed veterinarians or anyone operating under the authority of a licensed veterinarian;
Wildlife sanctuaries;
Accredited research or medical institutions;
Licensed or accredited educational institutions;
Circuses licensed and in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and all rules adopted by the Department of  Agriculture;
Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers, including animal control officers acting under the authority of this Act; 
Members of federal, State, or local agencies approved by the Department; 
Any bonafide wildlife rehabilitation facility licensed or otherwise authorized by the Department; and
Any motion picture or television production company that uses licensed dealers, exhibitors, and transporters under the federal Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C.

Courtesy of Herp Alliance which remains neutral on SB 2362 until they  have fully analyzed all of its provisions. But as states so far I like it’s separation of herps from other animals, it’s a recognition that like in other laws concerning “dangerous animals” they are not an after thought but different kind of animal, needing different attention, traits that must be addressed. To me the most important advance is it “imposes insurance requirements and liability on owners of all of the “special use herptiles”. You want them, you have to be responsible for them. I hope it talks about minimum care requirements for a variety of species and looks into the problem of feral animals. What people must do if they no longer can possess these animals. Am I asking for too much? A comprehensive herp in captivity law?

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