Friday, May 25, 2012

Backstory on Ohio's SB 310 - Legislature's Rush To Judgment. Not So Fast; Watch This!

I've learned even more over the past few days about the impetus for Ohio's bill SB 310. There were facts the Ohio legislature failed to take into account; very disturbing questions still unanswered, things about this case that just don't add up.

Please watch this video filmed and produced by Joe Schreibvogel, a former police chief himself who now manages a similar exotic animal park. The evidence he's unearthed about the suspicious death of Terry Thompson points to some major and organized corruption the depths of which is still unknown.

Watch and evaluate for yourself...and share this around;

Joe himself has been targetted by some of the same tactics.

I wonder how many others around the country have as well.

The FBI has launched a full, ongoing investigation of these events.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Outcome of SB 310; "Dangerous Animals and Restricted Snakes" Bill

Tuesday, May 22nd Ohio state legislators convened to decide the fate of "exotic" animals and it passed 87-9.

There were three speakers for the bill and only one speaking against.

Rep. Terry Boose (R) District 58-Norwalk (Opposed);
1) Pointed out that the bill discriminates against the poor

2) Encourages a black market

3) Not enough teeth in the bill to really be effective anyway

Rep. Brian Hill (D) District 94-Zanesville (In Favor);
1) Stated that the bill would include an "Animal Emergency Team"

2) Will promote proper caging requirements

Rep. Tracey Heard (D) District 26-Columbus (In Favor);
1) Stated that she had a pet monkey as a child and supported exempting those from the bill's scrutiny because they "make good pets, and serice animals" (side note: Opinions are like ***holes, everybody has one. So where's the research sources proving monkeys are better and safer pets than snakes???)

2) Stated that the bill "makes provisions" for those who can't afford the various fees and must "relinquish" those animals. Feels they are "reasonable". (side note: How big of her. Is she offering to adopt all these displaced pets, and cover the costs of their care? No detail given on just exactly how much these fees are, and where this money for their future care is supposed to come from. Are the people who can afford those fees supposed to foot the bill for all those people giving their pets up who can't?)

Rep. Andy hompson (R) District 93-Marietta (In Favor);
1) Stated that the "First Responders" for animal emergencies proposed by the bill is an important feature.

Well, I must say that the impression I was left with after watching this session was that the whole hearing was merely a formality.

There are so many constitutional issues here that this is bound to end up at the Supreme Court level. Perhaps animal-lovers have lost this battle, but we will win the war.

History has borne out again and again that prohibition doesn't work; not in a country that was built on acceptance of individual choices. The original settlers left Europe because they didn't want every aspect of their private lives dictated to them by their government and wanted to be free to pursue what made them happy.

Sure, there are instances when government needs to step in and intervene to level the playing field, prevent people from killing each other, or to make sure society has what it needs to serve everyone in it, there are times when that's appropriate, but not in telling people what pets they can keep.

USARK offered reasonable alternatives, and who better to be involved in the writing of standards for and about snakes than people who have been doing it for years? Who better to write the standards for large cats than people who have made a career doing that.

Society recognizes this in fields such as medicine in which boards are formed to set the standards for their peers, and in fields like medicine government hesitates to let state or Federal legislators decide what is best for doctors and their patients. The reason? Because they recognize that legislators (and along with them, other special interest groups) lack the knowledge, experience, and expertise to dictate "best practices" to doctors, tell them how they should do their surgeries, what drugs to prescribe and not prescribe, and what tests they can and can't do on their patients. (Private insurance companies try to do that, but at least the government in this instance, takes a pretty much hands-off approach).

Life is full of both risks and benefits. There are people who have died from working with animals, but in the grand scheme of things the number of people who have died does not reach the level that requires government intervention. Overall the joys of working with animals far outweighs the risks, and as we become more familiar with a whole range of different species we come to understand them better (just as different races and nationalities of people get better at relating as they are allowed to communicate and meet in the middle). All of these individual differences take time to work out.

Just like people who speak different languages, animals have their own "languages"; different ways of communicating, and different ways of interpreting the actions of species outside their own.

If people are restricted from keeping certain species they will never have the opportunity to get to know them at close range and to work through those language and cultural barriers. That in itself will keep whatever dangers there are ever-present and unpredictable. Wouldn't it be better to be able to predict and prevent those incidents and move past them than to merely table the interactions that will reduce those risks?

Just as in any relationship, humans and other animals need to meet in the middle and learn from one another so that they can successfully achieve a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both species. Money should have no place in such relationships. It is a matter to be worked out between each particular animal and each particular human.

I know that with each dog I have had the relationship and what defines it is unique. We learn along the way how to treat each other, we have special routines between us that are specific to just that relationship, certain special ways of relating that don't necessarily apply to all dogs and all humans. Relationships, whether they are human to human or human to other animal involve compromise, respect, trust, regard for the other, kindness, and most of all, the willingness to work on that relationship to make it better and richer with time. Those objectives cannot be achieved by distance. Those principles are universal and can be applied across the board, regardless of species.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Update on Snake Bans

Things have been heating up in Ohio, and we in the hobby are on the cusp of another bout of knee-jerk legislation as follow-up to the Lacey Act. The outcome of that original act amendment was that at least there was going to be a 2 year maratorium on adding any more than the 4 species of snake that were proposed. Now comes an amended version on the state level that seeks to undermine those few protections put in place and threatens to open it wide up and without a vote!

This new piece of legislation in Ohio; called SB 310 in its current version would be one of the most restrictive on reptile keeping of any in existance Nationwide.

Representative Jim Buchy proposed some changes recommended by USARK (United States Association of Reptile Keepers) which were rejected by Governor Kasich, Senator Balderson, and others. These changes included a proposed $25.00 registration fee instead of permitting of animal facilities, would institute safety and secure housing protocols instead of requiring cost prohibitive surety bonds and liability insurance.

Although the conterproposal was supported by several in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, it was rejected by the above mentioned leaders.

HSUS, the Columbus Zoo, and Jack Hannah oppose USARKs suggested alternatives, and with elections coming up in November for all House Committee Members, alot of them are under pressure to hurry this bill on through just so that it doesn't interfere with their campaigne plans.

This comes down to a vote today! Please write one of these people in the Ohio legislature and ask them to vote no on SB 310 .

We need to nip this in the bud before this type of extreme restriction comes rolling into all our towns, States, and cities.

I wrote Representative Debbie Phillips and asked that she write back to keep me informed on the vote. She has a background in mediation, so I figured that she would be more likely than some of the others to see the logic in working with USARK and the alternate solutions they proposed instead of the current version.

If this does not work, and the opposition gets its way, many people would be financially unable to keep their beloved pets due to inordinate fee requirements, (and that seems to be the bill writers' objective in adding the requirements). This would be a real shame.

Imagine a child crying because he had to give up his favorite snake he has had for years. And imagine there is no shelter that can take this snake that up until now has been loved and cared for, safe and secure, and a part of the family just like the dog and cat that share the home with it. It gets shuttled around from one temporary place to another where nobody really has experiece with snakes, it gets stressed out, stops eating, and tragically dies.

All this unecessary turmoil would be because of some bureaucrats who are trying to get re-elected, because of political power games between people fighting over money, many of whom have no idea what kind of added problms this legislation will cause snakes like this, little children, and taxpayers, and worse, they could care less! These are people who see snakes as nothing more than vermin to be reviled and driven out of our communities and the eco-system. They are ignorant people who insist on keeping their ignorance; sucking on it like a mother's teat.

Earlier I saw a video on Youtube that really took the cake showing to what lengths HSUS and PETA will go to further their anti-animal agenda. From all the warm and fuzzy TV commercials the general public would never guess that these "animal rights" organizations resort to such militant and unethical tactics. It has truly reached a new low and has gotten way out of control! It is long but please watch the whole thing. It is done in several segments put together;

Save animals by protesting this travesty!