CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A proposed list of animals that would be banned in West Virginia without a permit under the proposed Dangerous Wild Animals Act will likely be “whittled down” before it is finalized, according to two state officials.
“That list may very well end up being shorter than what it is now, but you have to have a starting point,” said Del. Randy Swartzmiller (D-Hancock, 01) who has been working for years to develop regulations for ownership of exotic animals in the Mountain State.
“We’re in fertile ground here. We’re moving forward,” he said of what’s now being considered.
Chris Ferro, chief of staff for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, agreed. “I think the subcommittee and then the committee as a whole (that developed the list) went ahead and cast a wide net and kind of captured some of these other species that we may not think of readily,” Ferro said.
With the regulations, permits for harboring the animals covered in the Act would cost $100 and would be subject to the approval of the Dangerous Wild Animal Board which would review the permits each December.
Ferro said those who currently own animals on the banned list would be able to keep them, but would not be allowed to replace them without permission.
The list includes many types of amphibians, birds, reptiles, crayfish, snails, bivalves, ray-finned fishes, trigger, file and puffer fish and mammals. A public comment period on what’s being proposed continues through Aug. 1 at 12 p.m. The complete list is available here.
Swartzmiller said the proposal is about safety — the safety of West Virginia’s residents along with the safety of the animals involved.
He lives near Zanesville, Oh. where, in 2011, 49 animals — including 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon — had to be shot and killed when a preserve owner released them before killing himself.
West Virginia is one of the few states without regulations addressing wild animals.
Both Swartzmiller and Ferro were guests on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
All comments on the proposal can sent via email to email@example.com or regular mail to the following address :
West Virginia Department of Agriculture
Attn: Jodee Martin
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305