Express-News Staff Writer
Web Posted: 11/28/2006 01:12 AM CST
BOERNE — Kendall County commissioners delayed voting Monday on long-debated revisions to regulations on keeping wild animals after being told the proposal was misguided.
Though some at a public hearing supported the rules, others saw them as an infringement on property rights that could stifle the intellectual curiosity of youngsters.
Much of the talk was about what animals made the “wild” list.
County officials conceded they lacked expertise in the field, and they welcomed suggestions on what animals should be regulated.
“We just took lists from the state and pared down from that,” County Judge Eddie J. Vogt said of the 62 animals slated for prohibition, ranging from rare species to common zoo stock.
But commissioners didn’t back off the move to update current rules, adopted in 2002. A vote on the new rules could occur Dec. 10.
County Attorney Don Allee called the existing rules a confusing blend of local government and public health and safety codes.
Birds and non-poisonous, non-native snakes recently were struck from the list. But that didn’t assuage Susan Anderson, who raises parrots.
“I enjoy being able to raise and do what I want,” she said, calling the rules an attack on property owners’ rights.
Ron Tremper, who raises and sells reptiles, called the list of barred animals “a little strange.”
“I guarantee you, our game warden couldn’t identify half the animals on this list,” he said.
Dave Barker, a professional biologist who raises snakes, said the rules should include criteria for the “dangerous” designation.
Farm animals are as hazardous as some slated to be banned, and, Barker said, “Most of these animals (listed) are not in captivity anywhere in the world.”
Allee said he’d consider any proposals to improve the rules, which went under the microscope in 2004 after neighbors of the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation center in Kendalia expressed concerns about lions and other animals kept there.
“We’re not experts on animals. We don’t claim to be,” Allee said. “We depended on volunteers to give us that list. Maybe we depended on the wrong volunteers.”
## What it could do ##
The list of wild animals to be regulated in Kendall County remains under debate, but proposed revisions to regulations on keeping such creatures would require:
* All animals designated as wild to be kept in escape-proof cages.
* Animal handlers to be properly trained.
* Proper disposal of animal carcasses and waste.
* County permission for the release of wild animals.
* A veterinary inspection of subject animals upon arrival in the county.
* The revisions can be seen online at www.co.kendall.tx.us
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