From United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK)*PLEASE follow the simple steps to do your part to SAVE OUR HOBBY! Cat Ex will cripple everything in herpetoculture! It only takes a few minutes!* Cat Ex Update and Action Alert (Comment Period Reopened) Action Alert: This rule would allow USFWS to add species as injurious (making importation, interstate commerce and interstate transportation illegal) without full due process afforded under the law. This affects reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, small mammals and a huge portion of the pet industry. Any species listed would disappear from the pet community. Spread this information to all pet owners and protect your rights. The U.S. Federal Government needs to hear your voices! Remember to be civil and professional in any correspondence. This “Categorical Exclusion” would make USFWS exempt from NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements. You can view the Action Alert with 3 steps on how to support your herp and exotic pet community at www.usark.org/action-alert/usfws-categorical-exclusion-2/. You can also view additional USARK information and action concerning Cat Ex atwww.usark.org/uncategorized/catex-update-and-usark-in-d-c-92413/. West Virginia SB 371 Action Alert The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the possession of wild and exotic animals (including herps) through a permit system, providing rule-making capability to authorities. Through rule-making, legislatures can first set broad definitions and statutes, then create stricter regulations without public comment or awareness. The rule-making process can easily lead to overreaching regulations. For example, a list of prohibited animals could be set in 2014 and then amended at will by authorities. View the Action Alert and information for this bill at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-west-virginia-sb-371/. Tarantula and Exotic Pet Keepers Action Alert Please take a couple minutes and let USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) know your concerns regarding listing 11 non-native species of tarantula under the ESA (Endangered Species Act). This could end the trade of captive bred animals. If you do nothing else, please go to the comments site and say something such as:“Regardless of ESA listing of one or more species, please provide for the exemption of captive bred animals from the possession and interstate sales regulation.”Comment at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107-0001 (Deadline is 2/3/14). View much more information and a message from Christian Elowsky (President of the American Tarantula Society) at www.usark.org/2014-blog/tarantula-and-exotic-pet-keeper-comments-needed/.New York A 2869 A2869 has again been referred to the Agriculture Committee (Assembly). The bill was introduced in 2013 and is back in 2014. A2869 will make, “Any person owning, possessing or harboring a wild animal or reptile capable of inflicting bodily harm upon a human being” guilty of a class E felony. This bill is upgrading the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony. You can contact legislators to let them know this is an unnecessary use of time and money, and a very harsh punishment for someone who may not be aware of this law. View more information at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-new-york-a2869/.Washington State Residents Below is a message from Predators of the Heart Sanctuary:A group in Anacortes, Washington will soon face the same legislation as Ohio. Currently there is a law in the works that will ban all exotics with no grandfathering. This means that without your help dozens, if not more, animals will be without homes. Without homes means that they will inevitably be put down.What we’re asking is just ten minutes of your time, to either call or send an email to the county commissioners and let them know the impact their decision will have. The hearing will be held on February 4th, in Mount Vernon, Washington at 9:30 am. The address is 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, 98273. If you cannot attend, PLEASE send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give them a call at (360) 336-9300. Your voice can make the difference, and put an end to this and guarantee a safe future for the animals at Predators of The Heart, a local sanctuary/rescue/educational group (www.predatorsoftheheart.com). New Jersey S381 This bill requires every applicant for a permit to possess a live potentially dangerous indigenous animal or a live potentially dangerous exotic animal to obtain and provide proof of liability insurance in an amount of not less than $250,000 for each potentially dangerous animal prior to the issuance of the permit. View more information at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-new-jersey-s381/.