In several of the documents relating to the addition of several species of snakes to the Lacey Act the assumption is made that during the periods of public comment very few responses were received, and those that were received were carefully considered.
Question 12: What prompted the reopening of the public comment period of the proposed rule to list the Indian (Burmese) python and eight other large constrictor snakes as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act?
Answer: In response to a number of requests from stakeholders, the Service granted an additional 30 days for the public comment period on the proposed rule for a total of 90 days.
Question 13: How many public comments did the Service receive?
Answer: The Service received about 56,500 comments for the proposed rule. The public can view these comments at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015. A final determination was made after a comprehensive review of the scientific data and the information contained in comments submitted by the public and peer reviewers
Here at Prehistoric Pets we believe it is the duty of those in office to protect the rights and wishes of their constituents and the duty of those constituents to get involved and carry an open discussion with their elected officials.
This is why we have stayed constantly involved in the discussion emailing, calling, and scheduling meetings with our representatives. Today’s blog includes our letter to Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer explaining our concerns for this legislation. We did not receive the response we had wished for, but at least our voice was heard.
Senator Boxer / Senator Feinstein ,
My name is Jay Brewer. I live and work in Orange County, Ca., actually for the past 22 years I have run and operated my small business, Prehistoric Pets. I emailed you a bit early about setting up a one on one meeting regarding S 373. Below I have included some information on myself, my business, and my concerns for this bill. If we don't get a chance to meet I would appreciate if you could at least understand my stance on this subject and why this cause is so important.
When I opened Prehistoric Pets, as Pet Country, in 1988 the store focused on providing quality pets and service to our customers. As our stock of exotic reptiles grew we had the opportunity to expand first into a 5000 sq ft location in 1992, and then expand again in 2000. Our inventive set-up was the first of its kind, which I designed to create a zoo-like atmosphere with the philosophybuild it and they will come. This philosophy proved correct and new customers started visiting the store to observe exotic reptiles, which are not displayed at even the largest of zoos.
This collection of specialized and rare reptiles also set PrehistoricPets.com apart, as a large online provider of quality reptiles. Demand for a new variety of high-end reptiles led to an increase of specialty breeding projects behind the scenes at our Fountain Valley location. These online sales, exported around the world and throughout the US, quickly became a very successful and large source of income for Prehistoric Pets. In 1995, we also began promoting our party business, Jurassic Parties, which proved very successful. Through Jurassic Parties we were able to educate the public at both schools and private events about reptiles using hands-on interaction with reptiles these children would have otherwise only read about in science books , to this day we have provided over 12,000 of these educational presentations across Southern California. These two factors combined allowed the 2000 expansion to its current size of 10,000 sq ft, with the most zoo-like experience over doubling our location size and producing a banner year in 2005.
As owner I have used difficult economic periods as a time to find a new niches Prehistoric Pets could settle into. From a 2000 gallon pond in the middle of the store, filled with Giant tropical fish to the displays exhibiting thousands of exotic reptiles of all sizes, Prehistoric Pets is a zoo. Over the summer we converted half of our location into a paid admission zoo, The Reptile Zoo, that serves as an educational center involving hands-on interaction with various types of reptiles. The support from customers, especially mothers, has been overwhelming. They love The Reptile Zoo and Prehistoric Pets as a destination for low price high benefit education entertainment for their children.
Unfortunately S 373 threatens to obliterate my passion and the business I have put my heart and soul into for the past 25 years also destroy an education resource for thousands of families throughout Orange and Los Angeles County without solving the problem it seeks to correct in South Florida.
As I had mentioned before along with running our 10,000 sq ft reptile zoo we are also one of the premiere breeders of Reticulated Pythons , honestly, in the world. We focus in the breeding of specialty "morphs", or color and pattern variations, that are completely impossible in the wild. With 25 years of this specialized breeding I have grown quite a stock in captive bred animals, making it extremely rare to ever import an animal from the wild.
Here in California we enjoy rather wonderful weather, but the majority of the United States is not as privileged with average temperatures in the high sixties. But even in such a warm weather I must spend thousands of dollars monthly to provide specialized heating for every single one of my snakes. You must understand, especially in these tough economic times, I would love to cut costs and stop paying for this heat but without it my animals would quickly catch colds, yes they can catch colds just like people, and sadly die. The same is true for breeders and reptile owners across the country that spend millions of dollars every year to provide specialized environments and care for our animals that would not be able to survive without our support. The reason it would be so impossible for these animals to survive even with balmy day temperatures of 60-80 degrees here in Southern California is their absolute reliance on surrounding temperatures. Snakes are cold blooded, which means unlike humans they cannot raise their own body temperature. Though they might enjoy the warm temperatures during the day with the extreme drop in temperature each night these snakes wouldn’t be able to bring their body temperature back up to a safe level, resulting in as I mentioned before severe colds and a quick death.
Another issue I see with this bill is regarding the actual "invasive threat" of these pythons and boas. Boas have lived in Mexico from the beginning of time and have not crossed the border or been cause for worry regarding infestation or destruction of wildlife... and even Burmese pythons have been in the Everglades for the last twenty something years without moving far north let alone the entire US. When you look at any study of the natural habitat of these pythons then follow the latitude line to where it crosses the United States you will find highest range these pythons can survive crosses into only a small section of Florida and nowhere else in the United States. If there is a problem in Florida it should be a state level with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee, as it currently is.
Thank you so much for hearing me out. I look forward to the opportunity to talk with you face to face in the very near future.
How was your voice heard? Have you contacted your representatives? Were you able to schedule an appointment to meet with one of their staff? What was their response?