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Posted by JeffB on January 29, 2003 at 17:57:35:



The Issue.
Washington legislation to prohibit possession of certain “wild animals” will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday January 31, 2003. In addition to animals such as wild cats, bears, and primates, the bill’s definition of wild animal includes such reptiles as green iguanas, rock iguanas, and any snake from the family boidae whose length could exceed eight feet. PIJAC recommends concerned parties attend this hearing to state their strong opposition to this overly broad measure.

The Impact.
House Bill 1151 establishes a new chapter to Title 16 of the state code. It was introduced by Representative John Lovick (D-44), who sits on the committee to which the bill was assigned. The measure creates a definition of “dangerous wild animal,” with a dirty list of several mammal and reptile species. Reptiles include the following:
Order squamata
Family varanidae, only water monitors and crocodile monitors;
Family iguanaidae, only green iguanas and rock iguanas;
Family boidae, all species whose adult length has the potential to exceed eight feet in length;
Family colubridae, only boomslangs and African twig snakes;
Family elapidae, such as coral snakes, cobras, and mambas - all species;
Family nactricidae, only keelback snakes;
Family viperidae, such as copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes - all species;
Order crocodilia
All species, including crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gavials

The bill prohibits the import, ownership, possession, keeping or harboring of any such species, with certain limited exemptions. Entities exempt from the ban include zoos, animal protection and humane organizations, animal control officers, veterinary hospitals and clinics, wildlife sanctuaries, research and medical institutions, educational institutions, and circuses or rodeos.

Persons who already own an animal covered by the act at the time it is passed may obtain a personal possession permit. Such a permit requires an extensive application, and a separate permit must be obtained for each animal. Permit fees may run as high as $100 per animal for each initial permit, as well as for subsequent renewals. Additionally, several requirements are set forth:

 Each animal must be implanted with a microchip
 Each animal must be spayed or neutered
 Care of every animal must be consistent with AZA’s minimum husbandry guidelines
 Owners must maintain “a plan for the quick and safe recapture” of animals in case of escape.
 Liability insurance of at least $250,000 must be maintained.
 Warning signs must be posted on the property where animals are maintained.
 Animal control staff/agents must be permitted to enter the premises “at all reasonable times.”

The measure also allows cities and counties to adopt ordinances that are even more restrictive, including dangerous wild animal definitions that are broader (i.e. covers more animals); stricter care and treatment provisions, additional caging standards. It explicitly recognizes the validity of any city or county ordinance already in existence so long as it is at least as strict as this act.

Recommended Action.
H 1151 asserts that “the average wild animal owner lacks the specialized equipment and expertise necessary to provide” proper care, and “it is virtually impossible for a dangerous wild animal to adapt to traditional household settings.” It is imperative that members of the committee be informed that:

 Not all species and specimens of animals covered by this bill qualify as dangerous wild animals.
 Not only zoos, circuses or humane societies possess adequate facilities for these animals.
 The permit process should not be limited to grandfathering in existing owners.
 Anyone demonstrating qualifications for care of covered animals should be granted a permit.

The hearing will be held before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday January 31, 2003, in Hearing Room B, at 1:30 p.m. (in Olympia). Persons seeking to contact the committee prior to the hearing may phone 360-786-7122, or fax 360-786-7021. A copy of the committee membership is attached to this PetAlert. Committee members may be contacted by phone and email.

A copy of the actual bill may be obtained by going to:

Should you have further questions about this legislation, contact PIJAC’s Marshall Meyers or Michael Maddox at 202-452-1525.

Washington House Committee on Judiciary
John L. O’Brien Building, #236A
Olympia, WA 98504
360/786-7122 (Tel.)
360/786-7021 (Fax)

Rep. Patricia Lantz (Ch) (D-34 Kitsap, Pierce) (360) 786-7964
Rep. Jim Moeller (V-Ch) (D-49 Clark) (360) 786-7872
Rep. Tom Campbell (R-2 Pierce, Thurston) (360) 786-7912
Rep. Michael Carrell (R-28 Pierce) (360) 786-7958
Rep. Dennis Flannigan (D-27 Pierce) (360) 786-7751
Rep. Steve Kirby (D-29 Pierce) (360) 786-7996
Rep. John Lovick (D-44 Snohomish) (360) 786-7892
Rep. Lois McMahan (R-26 Kitsap, Pierce) (360) 786-7751
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-15 Clark, Klickitat, Yakima) (360) 786-7751


PIJAC is the national association in the business of keeping the pet industry in business. Retail stores may join for as little as $50 per year. To join, or simply to learn more about PIJAC, visit our Website at If you have further questions, contact PIJAC by email at, or phone us at 1-800-PETS (1-800-7387).

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