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ALERT: 7/10/21: “Exotic” or “Dangerous wild” animal ban

Update 8/4/21:

 A state bill is not going to happen in 2021 (nearly impossible to even be introduced). As we have already stated, it is too late in this session. However, Senators Nickel and Chaudhuri still plan to introduce a ban next session. Below is a link to a draft of the bill they plan to introduce.

Original Alert below:

North Carolina legislators are seeking to ban some reptiles and other “exotic” or “dangerous wild” animals (no formal list yet). This effort is happening after an irresponsible venomous snake keeper allowed a spitting cobra to escape. North Carolina already has a comprehensive law regarding specific reptiles, including venomous snakes, with requirements for safe caging, and for protocols for handling, envenomation, and escape.

This careless keeper violated current state law and now faces at least 40 charges. USARK fights for the freedoms of RESPONSIBLE herpetoculturists and has always held that irresponsible keepers should indeed be punished. Unfortunately, this keeper and the escape he allowed have cast a dark shadow upon all keepers in North Carolina (and beyond). Now lawmakers say they want to bring about new policies that we recognize would be collective punishment in effect. They want to punish everyone because of the actions of one person. This is a knee-jerk reaction lacking understanding, forethought, and common sense.

A state bill has not been introduced, and it is late in the North Carolina state legislative session. It is too late to introduce a new bill this session but language could be added as an amendment to a current bill, so it is possible. If not this year, we may see legislation next session. Again, remember that there is already a current law that will serve to punish the person who drew this attention.

The current law is North Carolina General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55. Titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles,” (or just “Article 55”), it can be found at The local city (Raleigh) and county (Wake) lawmakers are also looking to create new bans/laws. We will have these as separate alerts but the information provided here can be utilized. Local residents should speak with their local lawmakers ASAP.

What needs to be made clear to legislators is that the current has law has worked for well over a decade, and continues to be effective; the keeper who made headlines has been charged and will be seen in court. Bans do not protect the public nor serve the public interest! Sound, rational, common-sense policy that fits reality is what the people deserve. Animal bans merely advance the radical animal rights agenda. Unfortunately, North Carolina may soon be facing a Dangerous Wild Animal (DWA) Act that will ban many species (and not just some reptiles).

Remember that legislators must be educated on reptiles, reptile keeping, and the current state law! Realize that they know very little (if anything) about these subjects.

We know that Senators Chaudhuri and Nickel are leading the effort for new state legislation. If one of these is your Senator, it is critical that you contact him immediately with your opposition to any new ban or overreaching law, and also state you are a constituent from his district.

You can find your state lawmakers at Your state lawmakers will be listed under NC House and NC Senate. Simply click their names for their contact information.

Contact the legislators! Please call, email, and set in-office or virtual (i.e. Zoom) meetings!

  • Remember that you MUST be professional and civil at all times.
  • Please edit/personalize your letters.
  • Please supply North Carolina addresses when completing the forms!
  • North Carolina residents’ voices and opposition are needed!

Talking Points for calls, letters, and communications.
These can be used to customize calls/letters.

  1. North Carolina has a comprehensive law regarding certain reptiles, including venomous species. That law is General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55 titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles,” and it remains an effective basis for the punishment of irresponsible keepers, and the protection of North Carolina residents.
  2. The current state law did not fail! It only fails if the violator is not charged.
  3. Article 55 is a common-sense and rational law.
  4. A knee-jerk response in legislative action that ignores current law is inappropriate, while unjustly abolishing the right of stakeholders to engage in the legislative process.
  5. Last-minute legislation, late in the session, does not afford the due process that should be provided to those affected.
  6. A ban on reptile keeping would rip away conservation and breeding programs from responsible reptile keepers.
  7. Any major change to the current law would remove common sense and replace it with gross overreach.
  8. Legislators must be properly educated on this matter, and those responsible stakeholders who will be affected, rather than getting caught up in the sensationalism and limelight of an incident.
  9. There are logical alternatives to bans. Legislators must not turn a blind eye to doing what is right by their constituents.
  10. Rather than solving any issues, bans create new problems including incentivizing criminals through an underground, black market and the fear-driven release of non-native animals.
  11. Legislation that effectively creates collective punishment is bad governance. Such approaches are senseless and unjust.

Who to contact

You can find your state lawmakers at Your state lawmakers will be listed under NC House and NC Senate. Simply click their names for their contact information.

Also, all North Carolina residents should contact Senators Chaudhuri and Nickel.
Phone: (919) 715-6400 and (919) 715-3036

Be sure to include that you are a constituent when contacting your specific legislators!

Sample Messaging

subject line: NO to reptile ban

I ask that you do not pass a ban or similarly unjust law regarding certain reptiles. I state this as a North Carolina resident who will be negatively impacted by any rash action taken due to a recent incident in Raleigh involving an escaped spitting cobra. The person responsible for this incident is already liable under current state law and will be charged.

You must listen to responsible stakeholders rather than practicing collective punishment in response to one bad actor. Current state law, under Chapter 14, Article 55, will serve punishment for the irresponsible snake keeper who violated this law. This clearly proves that the current law works. If changes must be made to the current law, legislators must collaborate with responsible stakeholders rather than passing a knee-jerk ban that will actually create many new problems.

Do you wholly ban both driving and alcohol consumption separately because someone drives while intoxicated? No. You punish the drunk driver. If you believe bans work for matters in which most people partake responsibly, such as reptile keeping, please recall how well Prohibition worked a century ago.

Reactive bans lack the necessary forethought and research to avert unjust consequences. Please do not make a mockery of North Carolina’s legislative process. As your tax-paying, voting, and responsible constituent, my rights should not be violated! Affected persons must be allowed to engage in the legislative process rather than sit on the sidelines while uninformed proposals are put forward. Affected citizens deserve due process, and our rights would be violated with rushed legislation.

There are North Carolina residents, some with tens of thousands of dollars invested, who spent their money and years of time working on breeding programs with species that would be banned by some of the proposals mentioned in the news. Anti-venom laboratories rely upon private breeders to supply the reptiles they utilize, both for lifesaving anti-venom for bites, and to develop pharmaceuticals to cure human diseases including cancer. You cannot justifiably ban such activities from responsible reptile keepers, known as herpetoculturists, who are numerous, widespread, and have remained compliant under the existing state venomous reptile law.

A ban would be a travesty, and unexpected from my state of North Carolina. There is not the rationale nor logic to support a ban on reptile keeping. Rather than force injustice upon responsible reptile keepers, ensure that justice is served by punishing the person who broke the existing law. Do what is right by responsible North Carolina residents who work with reptiles. Have a good day.

Include YOUR NAME and North Carolina city or county.