It does not mention it in the story, but this bill will also require Class I Exhibitors in FL to post a $10,000.00 bond and this is the most important part of the legislation. Even though the bill requires microchipping the reptiles, there is no provision for a data base to be kept, so the only person who knows the microchip number is the owner of the reptile. When they turn their python loose, they will just tear up the paperwork and no one can track them.
The bond requirement will help get some of the sleaziest side shows off the road and will slow down the breeding of baby big cats for that sort of activity. It will also aid Fish and Game when they have to shut a place down as they can use the bond to feed the animals until they find placement for them. Currently there is no provision being made for the animals if they are abandoned or if the owners are shut down. If you are a FL resident, you can email or call your representative today (5/2/07) and ask them to adopt SB2766 exactly as it is written. SB2766 will be adopted in place of HB1505 and this is the link to find your legislator and a letter to send: http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/bills/?bill=9580251
Legislature Poised to Pass Bill to Crack Down on Owners of Big Reptiles
State lawmakers may be struggling to solve Florida’s property tax crisis, but they seem to have come up with a way to tackle a growing problem with pythons.
A bill to require owners of several kinds of reptiles including giant pythons to be licensed by the state is poised for passage at the Capitol.
The hope is fewer super-sized snakes will show up in the Everglades and random apartment complexes.
Wildlife rehabilitator Jon Johnson is holding a 12-foot albino python that was left abandoned in an apartment, apparently by some college student.
“They get these guys and feed ‘em once a week and it gets time to go home for the summer and they don’t know what to do with them, so they just leave ‘em.”
Johnson supports legislation that imposes stiff fines on owners of large meat-eating lizards and large constrictor snakes who deliberately turn the reptiles loose. The problem’s gotten so bad authorities now routinely run into giant pythons in places like the Everglades.
Under the proposed bill, you’d have to prove you could safely house and care for your reptile, and pay a hundred bucks for a state permit.
If you have one of the so-called reptiles of concern, you’ll have until this January to go get your hundred dollar state license.
Policing the proposed policy could prove a challenge, because who’s going to admit they have a giant python if they don’t want to deal with the new regulations.
But House sponsor Ralph Poppell says the real goal here is education.
“What we’re doing here is to try and create an awareness that it’s no longer acceptable to bring something in and call it a pet and then turn it loose in our environment.”
And if you do turn your python loose, police will be able to track you down. The legislation also requires you to microchip your reptile of concern.
The reptile regulation bill (SB 2766) is likely to come up for a final vote in the House Wednesday. The bill would then head to the governor’s desk if it passes.