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Need help with a snobby City Council and a badly written ordinance.

Discussion in 'Reptile Law - Legal News' started by Don S., Jan 10, 2015.

  1. Don S.

    Don S. New Member

    Needing some advice on dealing with a hard-nosed city council and a very badly written and outright vague animal ordinance. I own a pet store in my little town and have done so for years. One day a detective and an animal control officer came in and threatened to fine me over "constrictor style" snakes and handed me a copy of the ordinance. In this ordinance it lists ALL constrictor style snakes and any venom producing species as being banned in city limits. Furthermore, it goes on to allow you to have an alligator or crocidilian under 3 ft and on and on with its vagueness. I have tried multiple times to speak about this in city meetings and get the good ol' snub nose every single time. I am honestly at my wits end right now because the compliance date is in 2 months. Meaning that i would have to get rid of every single animal that is making this store money right now. Not to mention my customers being turned into criminals for owning a cornsnake or a turantula or even a dart frog! This is in Liberal, Kansas and i posted a scanned copy of the ordinance. PLEASE HELP!

    Attached Files:

  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Do you have any legal representation?

    Have you contacted Usark?

    Have you tried submitting a letter requesting them to name specific taxonomic orders/genera of animals that are forbidden? And are they only allowed under a certain size as well? or is it a blanket ban?

    Many snakes that are 'constrictors' stay within small, reasonable sizes and pose no threat to humans.

    I'm assuming they mean boas and pythons, but those of us that know reptiles know that almost all colubrids constrict their prey.

    Not to mention every crocodilian will outgrow the 3 foot mark. So allowing them only under 3 feet is HIGHLY irresponsible of the city as it encourages people to just dump outsized animals, very likely in municipal sources, where they will die anyways, but not before scaring the bejeezus out of some swimmers. Most people are not responsible enough to properly and legally dispose/rehome/relocate a crocodilian. Too much work. Just toss it in the lake. And zoos don't want them.
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Another feature may be how long ago the law was written vs. how long your shop has been in business. If your shop was there before the law went into effect, you may be grandfathered in. If the law came before you, it may not matter much at all.

    It's odd how some of the phrasing is so concise (no rear-fang snakes) but some of it is so. . . "Poisonous snake" .

    Do they realize that most dangerous snakes are actually 'venomous' and that there IS in fact a difference between venom and poison - and that laws need to be clear and concise?

    That if all 'poisonous' animals are banned, then a Spitting Cobra is still legal, but a toad is not.

    It may sound like nit-picking to them, but that's because they are clearly ignorant on a few things.
  4. Don S.

    Don S. New Member

    The way it was explained to me was the constrictor and monkey aspects are a complete blanket ban. Just "constrictor style" and "monkey" even the little capuchins. Then there is the vague wording in the opening paragraph of it. If i read that right, it is written in such a way that it could possibly apply to any animal in existence on this green earth. I have given up on going to city meetings any longer. I have gone up every month for a year and a half now trying to talk about this issue. As of late, before I even get to the podium they ask me if it's the same topic. The answer is always and has always been, for a year and a half, "we understand your concern and will look into it." meanwhile i'm at risk of losing everything i've worked so hard to build. I do not know when this was passed but i'm sure it was done prior to my store opening 2 years ago.
  5. ExoJoe

    ExoJoe Established Member

    I certainly see what you mean by vague. I would almost consider vague an understatement. Since you seem to have a well established business with what I assume some very loyal customers - perhaps you could invite them to join you at a the city meetings or possibly posting a petition at your location. I've been to some council meetings myself and sheer numbers can be a real eye opener to politicians.
  6. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

  7. Don S.

    Don S. New Member

    Unfortunately I have been trying to rile people up on this and at least get a few people behind me but community participation in politics here is next to nothing unless they are over 50. The young people always promise to come with me but never ever show up come crunch time. Same thing with the petition. It's taken me over 6 months to get 100 signatures. I did contact USARK today and there will be a person contacting me by Monday.
  8. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I was contacted by USARKs attorney. I have forwarded the contact info to Don by request.
    mshrmheadcharge likes this.
  9. infantry492

    infantry492 Active Member

    I'm not sure if it would help, but maybe put a petition on here for us to sign. I'm not sure how much it would help, but I can guarantee almost every person here would sign it.

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