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Posted by Ric Blair on February 02, 2003 at 15:48:51:
In Reply to: thanks for posting that. I live in Murrieta and need your.. posted by BenR79 on February 01, 2003 at 19:06:17:
Richard C. Blair 2/02/2003
3741 West 8850 South
West Jordan, Utah 84088
Dear Mr. Enoch,
I am writing to you concerning the proposed ban on reptiles.
I live in SLC, Utah. I currently maintain a collection of about 1500 snakes. I have a beautiful home, a wife of 28 years, 2 children and 3 grandchildren. We live in a subdivision (like most) where the neighbors houses are within 20 feet of each other. I have lived here for 18 years. I have one dog and my neighbors know I have him. I know about all the neighbors dogs, and am reminded of it everyday with their barks and stools on my front lawn My neighbors said that if they had not told that I have snakes, they would never have known. They have no smell, and they are cleaner then we are. Cleaner then our dogs or cats and they don't make any noise. They also can be housed in one room. Even their bites are relatively harmless. They are very low maintenance. They are the perfect pet. Get bit by a human and all sorts of bacteria can cause many problems, and can even cause death if not treated. Dogs routinely maul and kill children all over the country. Cats are miniature predators and kill over a billion birds and other valuable wildlife annually. These animals are known harbingers of many diseases. I have never become ill while handling any of my snakes nor have any of the thousands of people who have come to see my snakes, and help me maintain them over all the years. I have been bitten once or twice by my boas over the years. But the injury is only superficial and it heals quickly with no scars or ill effects. Not so with dogs. They tear and maim. In fact my having the snakes has helped to educate people and taught them not to kill the snakes in the wild. It would be wise for council members to learn from other reptile enthusiasts, and maybe even go to a local herpetological club meeting. It is hard to base decisions on things we know little about, and "really" is that right of fair? You really need to learn more instead of this knee jerk reaction. That is all it can be. I know as I have been working with reptiles for over 25 years and what you are proposing is unbelievable.
If you base your needed restrictions on real case examples, I am sure you will you would loose any of your arguments. The truth is that with all the snakes maintained in private collections around the country almost no one has been permanently injured or killed by boa constrictors over 6 feet long. That is only a rare problem with pythons that are 12' and larger. So rare that it is not even worth mentioning. Keeping reptiles and amphibians is quite likely the largest hobby, with probably more animals maintained in collections then any other animal other than fish. Why when a person is killed by a snake (very rare) does it get publicized everywhere. It happens so often with dogs and it is rarely publicized. I guess it is known and expected that many deaths will be attributed to dogs, yet we do not prohibit ownership of such animals. Since we have the documentation and hard facts, why not prohibit dogs. Why! Because people are tired of having a few people tell the majority what they can and can't do, and especially if they don't know the facts. That is very irritating to me as well as you and others. Snakes, and yes over 6 feet in length is probably the safest hobby and pastime in America today. Call the hospitals and find out for yourselves. See how many people are admitted for problems arising for snakes. I always hear rumors, but no one can produce hard evidence, because there isn't any. You will be wasting your time, because it is so rare. I think you would be best putting your time and effort into real community problems. If you have not dealt with a lot of problems in your community concerning reptiles then why prohibit it. It just does not make sense to me or most reasonable individual to address a problem where none exists.
There are thousands of people in your community that own snakes. You will be surprised. The pet stores sell boas and 6' foot plus snakes like there is no tomorrow. In a time when the economy is slow you want cut the income of pet shops, and private breeders who are trying to make an income or to supplement their existing income. With the snakes comes the sale of aquariums and food, and so on. The reptile industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Most of it with captive raised animals. When does this unnecessary and over-regulated and more burdensome government quit. Especially when it is not needed. In my mind this legislation is being used to scare unknowing people into thinking they have someone doing something good for the community. An opportunity to gain kudos' from unknowing voters who are naive to what the truth about the snakes in general. You will drive the people who enjoy reptiles underground for no reason. You will try to make criminals out of people that want to enjoy there interests. If they tried those tactics here in West Jordan, Utah, I would move to an area where more reasonable heads are in charge of government affairs. I would make sure this would never happen here anyway. Hey ban skate boards. More injuries and deaths then you can imagine. How about inline skates. Get the picture!
I hope you will use some common sense and I hope that some of you will do your homework in stopping this ridiculous regulation or law from going into effect. DO NOT LET IT PASS. Smells like communism at work to me. You or anyone in your council can call me for information at the above listed telephone number. I know snakes inside out and will put my knowledge up against just about anyone's. I can produce a valid and truly educated argument for not passing this and allowing it to become a very over-burdensome law or regulation. I will be totally honest and forthcoming in my answers and suggestions.
Richard C. Blair