Council to finalize exotic pet language
By JOHN MORGAN
Star-Tribune staff writer Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The Casper City Council is planning to read and approve new language that defines wild and exotic pets during its regular meeting tonight.
The current code has been amended to clearly define specific species of amphibians, spiders and scorpions which are considered to be dangerous.
"In no way, shape or form are we trying to deny anyone from having these pets," said Rick Sulzen, director of Metro Animal Control and Welfare. "Most people who have tarantulas know how to handle them.
"We already have an exotic pet ordinance in place," Sulzen said. "We just want to make sure you are a responsible pet owner."
Sulzen said he wants to create a database of homes that have certain dangerous species of exotic animals so rescue workers can know what they’re getting into when they arrive at a house.
Sulzen recalled a time when rescue workers responded to a home for an emergency and found several empty snake terrariums. He said the snakes had been sold a few days earlier, but the responders thought they were loose in the house.
The council will vote for a third and final time on the changes at its 6 p.m. meeting tonight. During the May 16 meeting, exotic animal experts dazzled councilmembers with descriptions of snake and scorpion bites, as well as the difference between venom and poison.
"Only a handful of frogs can kill a man," said Ron Keck, owner of R&R Pet Barn at the Eastridge Mall. "A poisonous frog would kill a cat or a dog if they ate it."
He said the poison in the bodies of certain amphibians comes from the insects they eat in their native country. Since they can’t get those insects in Wyoming, they lose their toxic effects within a few months.
"A wild animal becomes wild in how we take care of it," he said during the May meeting. "There have been alligators in Casper for more than 60 years that I know about. As for permitting, I’m 100 percent for it."
Kendall Koschene, who works at the Pet Barn, said he owns a lot of the animals sold at the store, including a monitor lizard, which he takes with him around town like a dog.
"She shows no aggression to me because I’ve spent the time with her and shown her affection," he said. Koschene said he takes his alligator to The Science Zone at the Sunrise Shopping Center to do demonstrations for the kids.
Don Tipton, owner of the Rocky Mountain Vivarium, has a permit for venomous snakes. Sulzen said there are four people in Casper with the snake permits.
"If somebody has an animal that can hurt them, it should be in the (computer aided dispatch) system," Tipton said. "Right now there is a underground group of venomous snake keepers in Converse County. If we start having a permit system, these people will police themselves."
The proposed change to the language in the code clearly defines specific spiders that are considered exotic, such as the black widow, recluse and hobo. While some of these are native to Wyoming, keeping them as pets is a different matter.
"Every home in Wyoming has a black widow spider in it," Keck said.
Boa and python snakes have also been added to the list, as well as centipedes. The language also clears up some confusion over pet hamsters and the educational use of certain animals.
Keck and Tipton are among those scheduled to speak at tonight’s meeting.
In other business, the council will consider approving the transfer of several retail liquor licenses, including the transfer of a license from the Casper Events Center to the 19th Hole Restaurant on Allendale Boulevard.
"The 19th Hole will cater several events with alcohol at the events center and will probably keep a full-time bar at its restaurant," said Peter Meyers, administrative analyst for the city. Meyers said businesses with full retail liquor licenses are allowed to cater up to 36 events at another location within a 12-month period.
The council will also consider raising fees at the Hogadon Ski Area for next winter. A family season pass is expected to increase from $650 to $700, while the single season and junior season passes could rise $25 each. All-day lift tickets for adults, students and children are each expected to increase by $1.
Reporter John Morgan can be reached at (307) 266-0614 or email@example.com.
SpiderLover wrote on June 07, 2006 7:27 AM:
"The statement, "want to make sure you are a responsible pet owner" is an excuse, the reality is that they want to collect the information of who owns what, so in the future if a ban occurs, they know exactly what you own and what you have. Also this will give revenue to the authorities, more money. Rocky Mountain Vivarium and R&R Pet Barn are in reality pet stores, and could face retaliation from the authorities if they do not speak in their behalf. But they do not realize, their sales will decrease if this becomes an ordinance."
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