Thursday, 3 October 2019

Wolverines, Anacondas, Raccoons Join New York’s ‘Dangerous Animals’ List - Regulation would create new licensing requirements for zoos, wildlife parks, exhibitions – via Herp Digest

By Melanie Grayce West 
Sept. 19, 2019 Wall Street Journal

Badgers and boomslang snakes would seem to be dangerous animals to the average New Yorker.

State environmental officials now want to make it an official designation.

On Thursday, the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation released proposed regulations that would expand the state’s list of "dangerous animals.” The regulation would create new licensing requirements for zoos, wildlife parks and exhibitions that have those animals.

The proposal includes 17 different categories of animals that could pose a threat to public safety. The list includes the usual suspects like wolverines, raccoons and the Eurasian lynx, plus the obscure and less fuzzy: the DeSchauensee’s anaconda; and the Nile monitor, a large lizard with a nasty demeanor. Elephants are on the list, too.

The state already considered some animals dangerous, including wolves and coyotes, and by law individuals can’t keep exotic animals as pets. Exhibition operators, such as animal parks or zoos, are already required to be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the most dangerous animals.

However, the state said that to ensure the safety of people, fish and wildlife populations, it needed additional powers. The public will have time to comment on the proposed regulation before it goes into effect.

Jeff Taylor, who owns the Wild Animal Park in Chittenango, N.Y., said the state’s move amounted to overregulation for legally licensed operators. His park has several of the dangerous animals, including bears.

“People already breaking the law aren’t going to follow it,” he said. “It’s making it more of a permit process for us.”
Conservation officials point to a growing number of incidents with dangerous animals, including one in June where an Orange County man was bitten by one of the more than 150 venomous snakes he kept in his basement. In 2011, a New York woman died after being bitten by an African black mamba snake and in 2006, a New York woman was attacked by a capuchin monkey, the DEC says.

Sue McDonough, president of  the animal-rights advocacy group New York State Humane Association, said such designations were needed to combat “roadside zoos” that are unlicensed, and to address people who keep wild animals as pets.

“You have people getting wildlife as pets without any training or background in handling wild animals and it is a problem,” she said.

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