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Sure, but I felt it neccesary to address the issue and tone, addressed in

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Posted by Lisa on February 21, 2002 at 09:11:02:

In Reply to: I think he apologized if I'm not mistaken... posted by Timothy Smith on February 20, 2002 at 16:47:33:

that post, since it was already in the "public record" so to speak.

: I happen to agree with Zac on several of his points.

If you read my posts, then you'd see that *so do I* actually. But his telling me to "BACK OFF!!!" escalated the argument by getting personal.

:I have attended Hamburg and your show, and noticed that the attitude towards the highly dangerous reptiles present was somewhat lacking. ?

At just our show, or Hamburg too? Because, taking into account the much larger number of vendors, and the huge crowds it attracts, Hamburg has many more people helping out (relative to size than we do. And MANY of our vendors also attend Hamburg. Our protocols for handling venomous is based on how Hamburg does it. So what are we lacking. If you talk to us you will see we respect these animals.

:I like Kathy and Zac have witnessed multiple animals being roughly treated and made to perform. There seems to be an element of respect absent there that is not in Hamburg.

Can you say without a doubt that these incidents don't happen at Hamburg or anywhere else? At a smaller show, maybe things are more easily seen as opposed to the crush at Hamburg. I have already mentioned incidents at Columbus and Hamburg - am I the only one to have ever seen them there? You are wrong about our respecting the animals.

:You need to beef up your caution a little bit and take what youíre doing a little more seriously.

I don't know you, and you don't know me - how much I respect animals, how cautious I am with hots, (after many years of herp keeping, I have only *now* the knowledge, experience, (and expertise/advice of veteran hot keepers) neccesary to keep a venomous animal - a Broadbanded Copperhead - under lock and key, I might add...) And you most certainly have no idea how seriously I take *ALL* animals, herpetology and herpetoculture.

The same is true for the whole of the society - if that doesn't show, maybe it is because we are short staffed. What do you think we should do? And do you wanna help? :)

:You can educate people, but as soon as someone get hurts, thatís all worthless and completely forgotten.

VERY TRUE!! And I am in total agreement with you. But conversely, the more educated people are the less likely it will be that someone will get hurt. If anyone harasses any deadly animal, tiger, cobra, or elephant, do you think that they are educated about the animal at all, much less the fact that it could potentially kill them?

That is why, from the very beginning, I stressed that we HAD to have educational programs at the show, especially about the danger and beauty of venomous animals. I am doing my part to develop educational signs, pamphlets, and posters toward this end. My talks are mostly about my area of expertise - gartersnake morphs, unusual Caribbean anole species, and general beginner herp education. "Venomous security" isn't my area of expertise since I am new to hots, but I do what I can. Unfortunately, due to the demands of the show itself, no one has the extra time to dedicate to the educational aspects.

You brought up a point that has me thinking... (and I'll repost it in a new thread too, for more input...) If Hamburg is so great (and it most definitely is!!) - How did it "get that way"? Did their early shows "suck"? Did they struggle for the first few years to get it together? Or was the demand for a show so great at the time, due to a lack of other shows, that they went like gangbusters right off the bat? How old *is* the Hamburg show anyways? Anybody know? How did they develop the safety rules they use - trial and error over many years?

Our show is new, barely one year, and 5 shows under our belt. One other show that permitted venomous, has failed in western Pennsylvania. Is there just not enough interest in venomous to create and sustain a show? Is there not enough interest in nonvenomous to support two shows in our area? There certainly isn't enough interest in running one, or we would have more help.

The shame of it all is that this was started to provide a good service to herpers in this area - *all* herpers - not just nonvenomous keepers. And to provide a source of income for our not-for-profit society, so that members could have more activities, run the society better, etc. And yet these are the same people (the ones who should be benefitting the most) who are the least involved, and the most critical of the efforts being made. I really am at a loss about what to do next.

:And if this is the way you treat your members, who would want to be one!

The *final word* I will make on this is that *HE IS A MEMBER - AND HE STARTED IT!" (caps are for emphasis - I am not yelling.) And YES, saying "he started it" IS childish - that was the point, I was responding to him in *exactly* the same manner in which he addressed us. Not perhaps the *best* tactic that I could have used, agreed. Stuff like that happens though, and hopefully with no hard feelings on his part - there aren't any on my part, anyways.

As for who would want to be a member, well, hopefully you, Kathy, her fiance, and anyone else who keeps herps in our area. The society really is about the animals, there aren't any politics involved - we all often just agree on things, where we don't agree, there is usually just a discussion, not an arguement, and we are usually polite to each other. You just witnessed a rare exception to the rule. That's all. None of us is perfect.


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