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Posted by Colchicine on September 10, 2002 at 10:37:57:
I am currently involved with helping the animal control officer of a local county modify their exotic animal ordinance. This ordinance would prohibit the possession of such "dangerous" animals as venomous snakes and large constrictors without a permit. The permit would also require a $50,000 liability insurance or bond among other stipulations.
My main concern for this ordinance is to prevent it from being too restrictive. They are not trying to keep anyone from having these animals, they simply want some control over dangerous animals. The original ordinance listed "all poisonous amphibians" which I feel is too general. By all technicalities, all amphibians are poisonous and would require a permit and $50,000 liability insurance. This would include everything from a white's treefrog to a fowler's toad!
After some convincing they changed the policy, but later added "poisonous amphibians to include but not limited to poison-arrow frogs". I still have problems with this since it still included all amphibians.
My question here is, should captive poison-arrow frogs (or similar) be considered a threat to human life or health? I feel that all amphibians should be excluded from this ordinance as I never heard of anyone have serious complications from contact with an amphibian. I am not talking about eye and nose irritation, which expected from even a toad. I am speaking of disfigurement, loss of mobility, convulsions, coma or death. Can anyone cite examples of serious complications from handling an amphibian?
I feel that poison-arrow frogs in particular are very very low risk for escaping and endangering the public. Most are kept in secure glass tanks and would dehydrate and die within a matter of hours of escape. The only other amphibians to consider are Bufo marinus, but that is already strictly banned in the state of Va. I don't think they should require a permit, much less $50,000 liability insurance.
I would appreciate any opinions, specific cases, or even anecdotal stories, of problems associated with the possession of amphibians.