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Posted by ECO on February 04, 2002 at 22:09:55:
>NOTE: This letter will be posted on several forums. Expressed permission has been given by the administrators of kingsnake.com. Permission is granted by the party posting this message(and
I encourage you to do so) copy and post it, in it's entirety, on other forums at
kingsnake.com. Please email me for permission to use it elsewhere.
>Currently, TN has some of the most restrictive laws regarding reptiles &
amphibians. WHY?...Because NO ONE (myself included) has ever had the time,
guts, support, desire or means to stand up to the people who made these laws.
>Recently, the topic of TN laws has been coming up on various forums both here
on kingsnake.com, and elsewhere. Several of us "Tennessee locals" have been
quietly working behind the scenes to organize an effective "answer" to the
situation in TN, and so far, we've met / contacted the following "types" of
>1) The..."hey, how can I help" person. These kinds of people are what we need!
EXAMPLE: BGF from the venom lab in Australia has contacted the main herp
enforcement officer in TN concerning the "snafu" about mangrove snakes, which
USED to be legal to have, but NOW are restricted, BECAUSE someone at TWRA
(Tennessee Wildlife Resources) heard, (but didn't bother to check) that ONE
person (IN ANOTHER COUNTRY TOO!!!) had received a medically significant bite
from a mangrove snake.
>Others people we have either contacted, or have been contacted by, are willing
to put their name and reputation on the line as well, which brings us to the
next kind of person...
>2) The..."I don't want to get involved because I don't live in TN" person.
Well, guess what folks, the laws of TN regarding captive wildlife ARE BEING
LOOKED AT BY OTHER STATES AS A BASIS FOR CHANGING OR MODIFYING THEIR LAWS!
>You think your state laws are unfair, move to TN, just make sure you stop on
your way in and get an import permit for your herps,.... and if you have ANY
venomous species, please apply for a class 1 license, then build a zoo to keep
>3) The "but I don't keep venomous snakes..., all I have is a boa / iguana at
home, or a frog in the classroom, or your kids have a pet turtle, not you"
person. Again, look at the issues in the news and the ease at which TN
justifies adding creatures to it's prohibited list. Have boas or pythons ever
caused human fatalities in the USA, .....YES, largely due to their owners
carelessness. Are iguanas responsible for creating a dangerous bacterial
situation in their environment, sure...just ask the Humane Soc, who is pushing
for a ban on ALL reptiles in captivity. Did you or one of your students catch
that tadpole or frog in a local pond....? BIG NO-NO, you just broke the law.
>4) The "well what happened to the NRAAC & other organizations....THEY are the
ones who should be fighting this, not me" person. Well get used to the idea
that for the foreseeable future, the NRAAC no longer exists. It may have been
started with the best of intentions, but for now, (due to some factors that I'm
aware of, mainly lack of support and commitment from it's members, and other
factors I'm sure that I'm not aware of) it is gone.
>5) And finally the "name calling, finger pointing, get-mad-but-do-nothing"
person. MANY people have singled out the one person at TWRA who is in charge of
exotic species as the "it starts and ends with him" person. THIS IS NOT
TRUE...., not totally
>anyway. YES, he can be a very "by the book" person. YES, in my opinion he is
not willing to consider other's opinions about the laws and possible changes to
them in TN.
>But I guarantee this..... HE IS NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO MAKES THE LAWS, NOR IS HE
THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN CHANGE THEM! There is an entire structure of officials,
both at TWRA and other government agencies who he, directly or indirectly
reports to,.... and ultimately is accountable to.
>Which brings me to my point...., WE NEED TO HEAR FROM EVERYBODY, ESPECIALLY
THOSE OF YOU IN TENNESSEE!!!! In order to fight for a change, we NEED to know
that YOU EXIST!!! Too many people are willing to "never do today what you can
put off until tomorrow." Too many people would rather concern themselves ONLY
with their own state, (I SUPPORTED CALIFORNIA'S LAW CHANGES THROUGH PHONE CALLS,
A LETTER AND EMAILS, AND MY NAME IS ON THE LIST OF PEOPLE SUPPORTING THE NEW
PROPOSALS THERE.... I ALSO HAVE VOICED MY OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED LAWS IN NEW
YORK, SOUTH CAROLINA, ALABAMA & INDIANA....., AND I LIVE IN TENNESSEE) But we
need to know that you are out there and wish to get involved. In order to do
that, we need a way to CONTACT you!
>PLEASE either post below, or email me directly. OUR future, YOUR future,
possibly EVERYBODY'S future regarding reptiles & amphibians may depend on
hearing from YOU!
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org