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THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA



HOUSE BILL

No.
575
Session of

2013








INTRODUCED BY HALUSKA, KORTZ, D. COSTA, COHEN, CARROLL, O'NEILL, CALTAGIRONE, MAHONEY, MULLERY, W. KELLER, V. BROWN, DELUCA, HESS AND MURT, FEBRUARY 8, 2013





REFERRED TO COMMITEE ON GAME AND FISHERIES, FEBRUARY 8, 2013






AN ACT



1Amending Title 34 (Game) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated

2Statutes, in special licenses and permits, further providing

3for definitions and for exotic wildlife possession permits.


4The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

5hereby enacts as follows:


6Section 1. The definitions of "exotic wildlife" and "exotic

7wildlife dealer" in section 2961 of Title 34 of the Pennsylvania

8Consolidated Statutes are amended to read:


9§ 2961. Definitions.


10The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter

11shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the

12context clearly indicates otherwise:


13* * *


14"Exotic wildlife." The phrase includes[, but is not limited

15to, all bears, coyotes, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars,

16cheetahs, cougars, wolves and any crossbreed of these animals

17which have similar characteristics in appearance or features.

18The definition is applicable whether or not the birds or animals


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1were bred or reared in captivity or imported from another state

2or nation.] all nonindigenous animals and the following,

3regardless of whether the animals are bred or reared in

4captivity or imported from another state or nation:


5(1) All members of the order Primates (nonhuman

6primates).


7(2) All members of the family Ursidae (bears).


8(3) All members of the species:


9(i) Canis latrans (coyotes).


10(ii) Canis lupus (gray wolves).


11(iii) Canis rufus (red wolves).


12(iv) Felis rufus (bobcat).


13(v) Panthera leo (lions).


14(vi) Panthera tigris (tigers).


15(vii) Panthera pardus (leopards).


16(viii) Panthera unica (snow leopards).


17(ix) Neofelis nebulosa (clouded leopard).


18(x) Panthera onca (jaguars).


19(xi) Acinonyx jubatus (cheetahs).


20(xii) Felis concolor (cougars).


21(xiii) Any crossbreed of the animals specified in

22this paragraph which have similar characteristics in

23appearance or features.


24The term shall not be construed to include any member of the

25class Aves (birds), any member of the families Equidae (horses,

26asses and zebras), Camelidae (camels, alpacas and llamas),

27Cervidae (deer, moose and elk), Bovidae (wild cattle and spiral-

28horned antelopes), Muridae (rats and mice), Chinchillidae

29(chinchillas and viscachas), Leporidae (rabbits and hares),

30Erinaceidae (hedgehogs and moonrats), Petauridae (gliders and


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1striped possums) or any member of the species Mustela furo

2(domestic ferrets) or Cavia porcellus (domestic guinea pigs) or

3any "domestic animal" as that term is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. §

45511 (relating to cruelty to animals).


5"Exotic wildlife dealer." Any person who:


6(1) imports into this Commonwealth, possesses, buys,

7sells, locates or finds for a fee, barters, donates, gives

8away or otherwise disposes of [more than one bird or one

9animal classified as] exotic wildlife [by this subchapter.];

10and


11(2) engages in at least five documented transactions

12annually involving exotic wildlife.


13* * *


14Section 2. Section 2963 of Title 34 is amended to read:


15§ 2963. Exotic wildlife possession permits.


16(a) Authorization.--The commission may issue permits to

17persons to possess exotic wildlife which shall authorize the

18holder to purchase, receive or possess exotic wildlife from any

19lawful source from within or without this Commonwealth.


20(a.1) Prohibition.--


21(1) Beginning January 1, 2015, the commission shall not

22issue any new permits authorized under subsection (a) for the

23possession of exotic wildlife, and shall only issue permits

24as set forth in sections 2930 (relating to propagating

25permits), 2962 (relating to exotic wildlife dealer permits)

26and 2964(a) (relating to menagerie permits) and 58 Pa. Code §

27147.302 (relating to general).


28(2) (i) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall not apply

29to a permit issued under subsection (a), provided that

30the permit is issued prior to December 31, 2014. The


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1permit shall only authorize the continued possession,

2after December 31, 2014, of the exotic wildlife

3identified in the permit.


4(ii) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall not apply

5to a wildlife sanctuary for which the commission, in its

6sole discretion, has designated a facility and authorized

7it to operate as a place of refuge to provide temporary

8or lifetime shelter, care and protection for abused,

9neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned or

10displaced wildlife under the authority provided under

11section 2902(c) (relating to general categories of

12permits).


13(3) The provisions of this section shall not apply to

14any young born after December 31, 2014, from exotic wildlife

15with a valid permit issued under subsection (a).


16(b) Shelter, care and protection.--No permit provided for in

17this section shall be granted until the commission is satisfied

18that the provisions for housing and caring for such exotic

19wildlife and for protecting the public are proper and adequate

20and in accordance with the standards established by the

21commission.


22(c) Unlawful acts.--It is unlawful for any person to:


23(1) [Possess, purchase or receive exotic wildlife] Keep

24exotic wildlife in captivity or have exotic wildlife in the

25person's custody or control, without first securing a permit

26[to possess exotic wildlife issued under this section or

27regulations pertaining to this section] issued by the

28commission as set forth in sections 2930, 2962, 2963 and

292964(a) or 58 Pa. Code § 147.302.


30(2) [Release] Violate any of the provisions of this


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1section or release exotic wildlife into the wild.


2(3) Fail to exercise due care in safeguarding the public

3from attack by exotic wildlife.


4(4) Recklessly engage in conduct which places or may

5place another person in danger of attack by exotic wildlife.


6(d) Penalty.--


7(1) A violation of this section relating to [permits is

8a summary offense of the third degree] unlawful release of

9exotic wildlife is a misdemeanor offense.


10(2) Any other violation of this section is a summary

11offense of the [fifth] first degree.


12(3) Each day of violation shall constitute a separate

13offense[, but under no circumstances shall the accumulated

14penalty for purposes of a field receipt exceed $300. There

15shall be no limit on any accumulated penalty a court may

16assess].


17(4) A second or subsequent conviction within a seven-

18year period for a violation of subsection (c)(1) or (2) is a

19misdemeanor of the first degree.


20(e) Discretion of director.--In addition to the penalties

21provided, the director may, for any violation of this section,

22revoke or suspend any permit and order the disposal of any

23exotic wildlife held.


24Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.


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MEMORANDUM
Posted: January 22, 2013 03:07 PM
From: Representative Gary Haluska
To: All House members
Subject: Amends Title 34 (Game) Banning personal ownership of exotic animals as pets in PA
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that amends Title 34 (Game) to ban the personal ownership of exotic animals as pets in Pennsylvania.

Under current law, a permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission is required to own these wild animals. There are 36 individuals who hold this permit. My bill would end that permitting process on January 1 2015; however, the legislation would allow those who have been awarded a permit before that date to keep the animal. After January 1, 2015, no new permits would be given by the commission.

Some of the animals included in the proposed ban are bears, lion, tigers, leopards, wolves and primates.

Too often we learn of terrible animal attacks involving caged wild animals. This legislation will specify that ownership of certain wild animals for private entertainment will be considered mistreatment of that wildlife, and thereby protecting the safety of Pennsylvanians as well as these animals.

My bill also specifies several species that will be lawful to possess. Within that list are sugar gliders and hedgehogs, two popular animals of certain pet enthusiasts.

Similar legislation passed unanimously last session.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legi...;cosponId=11203
 

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And boar were left out to be included or excluded. Waugh!
 

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I understand the desire to ensure the protection of the public from dangerous beasts.

However, it includes in the definition of exotic all nonindigenous animals. And then excludes only a few types of animals from the provisions of the proposed law.

I suggest that the proposal be changed to make certain animals which present a clear danger to the public, present a threat to the public and require the Commission to have hearings to determine whether other animals should be listed.

Frankly, this bill stupidly requires folks to have permits from the PGC to have a hamster. What danger does Haluska think hamsters present to the public? I have to wonder how well conceived this bill really is if I can find a problem in a three minute reading.

All Australian cattle dogs in this county were Dingo hybrids less than 70 years ago. Do I have to get a permit for my heeler? Who determines what "similar characteristics" are?

There are other commonly kept "pets" that are covered by this bill. Doormice for instance (Not mice despite the name)

How many farmers have Guinea Fowl running their farms, they are wild game birds in Africa. Farmers will be required to get a permit? Are they required to do so now? Peacocks?

We should perhaps fear the emotional state of a legislator that fears the public is in danger from hamsters.
 

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This bill is a direct response to the incident in Ohio last year where the "wild animals" were released and had to be hunted down.
 

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If the bill was truly aimed at dangerous beasts, it wouldn't require permits to have a hamster or a doormouse. Tayras are commonly kept as pets in other parts of the world and are easily tamed even from the wild, yet this bill would make them illegal.

When is the last time somebody was attacked by a Lemur or Loris(primates).

There are domesticated strains of skunks, raised in captivity for over two centuries. Temperament much milder than wild skunks, why prohibit possession?

The bill covers all nonindigenous animals. Regardless of danger or lack of it to humans or the environment. It is a prime example of not thinking things through to the end result. Animals that are routinely raised as livestock and/or pets in other parts of the world are made illegal for no reason other than some liberal's desire to pass an overbroad law to infringe unnecessarily on the freedoms of our citizens. (Oh, kind of like the current gun issue)
 

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zimmerstutzen said:
I understand the desire to ensure the protection of the public from dangerous beasts.

However, it includes in the definition of exotic all nonindigenous animals. And then excludes only a few types of animals from the provisions of the proposed law.

I suggest that the proposal be changed to make certain animals which present a clear danger to the public, present a threat to the public and require the Commission to have hearings to determine whether other animals should be listed.

Frankly, this bill stupidly requires folks to have permits from the PGC to have a hamster. What danger does Haluska think hamsters present to the public? I have to wonder how well conceived this bill really is if I can find a problem in a three minute reading.

All Australian cattle dogs in this county were Dingo hybrids less than 70 years ago. Do I have to get a permit for my heeler? Who determines what "similar characteristics" are?

There are other commonly kept "pets" that are covered by this bill. Doormice for instance (Not mice despite the name)

How many farmers have Guinea Fowl running their farms, they are wild game birds in Africa. Farmers will be required to get a permit? Are they required to do so now? Peacocks?

We should perhaps fear the emotional state of a legislator that fears the public is in danger from hamsters.


Looks Like Alloway is going to address your concerns:


MEMORANDUM
Posted: February 5, 2013 03:48 PM
From: Senator Richard Alloway
To: All Senate members
Subject: BANNING FUTURE POSSESSION OF CERTAIN EXOTIC WILDLIFE - REDEFINITION OF EXOTIC WILDLIFE AND EXOTIC WILDLIFE DEALER
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that amends Title 34 (Game and Wildlife Code) to end the issuance of general exotic wildlife possession permits as of January 1, 2013, effectively banning future possession of certain exotic wildlife by the general public; and redefine “Exotic Wildlife” and “Exotic Wildlife Dealer.”

This legislation will amend Section 2961 of Title 34 (Game) by redefining “Exotic Wildlife” to include all non-indigenous animals and the following: nonhuman primates, bears, coyotes, gray wolves, red wolves, bobcats, lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars and any crossbreed of the animals specified having similar characteristics in appearance or features. The term will not apply to any birds, equines, camels, alpacas, llamas, deer, moose, elk, wild cattle, spiral horned antelopes, rats, mice, hamsters, chinchillas, viscachas, rabbits and hares, hedgehogs, moon rats, gliders, striped possums, ferrets or domestic guinea pigs.

Section 2961 is also amended to define “Exotic Wildlife Dealer” as any person who imports into the Commonwealth, possesses, buys, sells, locates or finds for a fee, barters, donates, gives away or otherwise disposes of exotic wildlife, and engages in at least five documented transactions annually involving exotic wildlife. The definition of “Menagerie” is also amended to be any place where wild birds or wild animals, including exotic wildlife, or 10 or more birds or animals which have similar characteristics and appearance to birds or animals wild by nature are kept in captivity for the evident purpose of public exhibition with charge.

The bill also amends Section 2963 (relating to exotic wildlife possession permits) of Title 34 to provide that, starting January 1, 2013, the Game Commission will no longer issue permits for the possession of exotic wildlife, except for those related to exotic wildlife dealer permits and menagerie permits.

These provisions shall not apply to a wildlife sanctuary that the Commission has designated as a facility to operate as a non-profit place of refuge to provide temporary or lifetime shelter, care and protection for abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, orphaned or displaced wildlife under section 2902 and is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and does not conduct any commercial activity with respect to wildlife, does not use exotic wildlife for entertainment or in a traveling exhibit, does not breed any exotic wildlife, does not not allow members of the public the opportunity to come into direct contact with the exotic wildlife and does not allow members of the public to feed exotic wildlife.

These exceptions allow zoos, wildlife parks, designated wildlife sanctuaries, etc. to continue being permitted to possess exotic wildlife. Also exempted, or “grandfathered”, is exotic wildlife lawfully possessed under a permit prior to December 31, 2013. Such a permit authorizes the continued possession of exotic wildlife specifically identified under the permit. The permit does not allow for additional wildlife to be acquired after that date, but does cover young born after that date from otherwise lawfully held exotic wildlife. Section 2963 (c) (relating to unlawful acts) is amended to provide that unlawful release of exotic wildlife is a misdemeanor offense of a third degree, with a second or subsequent conviction in a seven year period being a misdemeanor of the first degree. Any other violation of the section is a summary of the first degree, with a second or subsequent violation within seven years being a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Section 2964 is amended to add that it is unlawful for members of the public to come into direct contact with the exotic wildlife in a menagerie.

Title 34 Section 2961 (relating to definitions) currently defines “Exotic Wildlife” to include but not be limited to all bears, coyotes, lions, tigers, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, wolves and any crossbreed of these animals that have similar characteristics in appearance or features. It does not currently list any species to which it does not apply. Hedgehogs and sugar gliders are currently banned under regulation of the Game Commission.

Under Section 2961, “Exotic Wildlife Dealer” is currently defined as any person who imports into the Commonwealth, possesses, buys, sells, locates or finds for a fee, barters, donates, gives away or otherwise disposes of more than one animal classified as exotic wildlife. Section 2963 currently provides for the issuance of exotic wildlife possession permits, authorizing the holder to purchase, receive or possess exotic wildlife from any lawful source. Section 2963 (c) (relating to unlawful acts) currently provides that a violation relating to permits is a summary offense of the third degree, and any other violation of the section is a summary of the fifth degree.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legi...;cosponId=11543
 

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Again, the stated purpose is to discourage and restrict ownership of dangerous wildlife, but in reality, his intent is to restrict and ban ALL nonindigenous animals, unless the legislature puts in an exclusion. So in essence we the people are unfit to have any animal unless the legislature puts it on an official list of permitted animals. In reality the scheme is to outlaw everything except those the legislature puts on a list of officially approved creatures for private ownership. That is completely backwards. It should list/restrict the ones found to be dangerous and leave the others alone.

For instance: All non-human primates? A Mouse Lemur with an adult weight of 1 ounce is a primate. If the goal is to outlaw monkeys and apes, then it should be so limited.

Why just ferrets and not polecats and Tayras. Both have been domesticated for centuries.

Door mice were raised as food in ancient Rome and still are in eastern Europe. They are now more commonly kept as pets. Why the fear of a 5 or 6 ounce creature?

Limiting the ownership of a few dozen dangerous beasts is not accomplished by restricting the ownership of thousands of non-dangerous species. I'd think the Commission has better things to do with it's resources than arrest folks or give permits for the non-dangerous ones.
 
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