The draft of the proposed “dangerous wild animal” proposed by Councilmember David Knight of Raleigh has been released. In good news, the ordinance contains a list of species and in the scope of reptiles, directly prohibits only “medically significant venomous snakes” and crocodilians, and does contain educational and scientific exemptions, as well as a grandfathering clause. Unfortunately, it is poorly worded and also states, “including but not limited to.” This means the law could be applied at-will to any non-domesticated animals. Such open-ended laws are dangerous as they are inherently subjective and allow for the scope of the law to creep well beyond the intent of the original ruling. Additionally, the grandfathering provision requires owners to purchase prohibitively expensive and hard to obtain liability insurance (typically $1,000+ annually). For “dangerous wild animals” this is unique insurance that cannot be purchased through traditional channels. This requirement is unjust, overreaching, and classist. This requirement would force most owners to surrender or euthanize their healthy animals, while keepers such as the offender responsible for the incident which brought the proposal to bear would be only minorly inconvenienced. This proposal seeks to punish the wrong parties. Further, it would create a tremendous burden on law enforcement, who are not normally prepared to deal with the animals prohibited by the proposal, which makes no provision for the safe and appropriate recovery or housing of any animals seized under the ordinance, stating only that the animal(s) “may be taken and impounded by the animal control unit of the Police Department for the protection of the animal, the public or both.”
You can read the proposal at http://ncark.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Raleigh-2022.pdf.
You can view the agenda at https://go.boarddocs.com/nc/raleigh/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=AMXHS2497127. Click “2022” and then “June 21, 2022.”
Speakers must register by 5:00 PM on June 20 by using the form at https://raleighnc.gov/petition-address-city-council.
The current state law is North Carolina General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55. Titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles,” (or just “Article 55”), it can be found at https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_14/Article_55.pdf.
Bans have proven repeatedly to be costly and ineffective. The Raleigh City Council should support the enforcement of our current state laws. If regulation beyond what is provided by the state is truly required (it isn’t), it must be attainable and not a privilege withheld on the basis of class.
Remember that lawmakers must be educated on reptiles, reptile keeping, and the current state law! Realize that they know very little (if anything) about these subjects.
Who to contact
Email list: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
General City Council phone number: 919-996-3050
Raleigh residents: Find your council member: Just scroll down for a Raleigh district map at https://raleighnc.gov/city-council. After finding your council member, you can just click on his/her name. This will provide their email address and phone so you may communicate directly with your designated council member. The input of Raleigh residents, as the constitutents of the Council Members, is of the utmost importance. They will need to hear opposition from people in their districts in order to stop this.
- Remember: You MUST be professional and civil at all times.
- Remember: Lawmakers are public servants. They work you. They have an obligation to hear the voice of the people and you do not need to be intimidated or fearful when meeting with them.
- Please edit/personalize your letters.
- Please supply North Carolina addresses when completing the forms!
- Raleigh residents’ voices and opposition are needed first and foremost!
- In-person meetings and phone calls will have the most impact.
Contact the council members! Please call, email, and set in-office or virtual (i.e. Zoom) meetings!
Talking Points for calls, letters, and communications.
These can be used to customize calls/letters.
- North Carolina General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55 titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles” provides effective provisions for the safe housing and management of these animals and for the punishment of irresponsible keepers, and the protection of North Carolina residents.
- Article 55 regarding certain reptile species is a common-sense and rational law.
- Reptiles are found in one of every twenty U.S. households, or kept by about 5% of Americans.
- 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.
- Raleigh needs to consider a common-sense approach by working with stakeholders and not an overreaching, knee-jerk ban lacking forethought.
- Council members 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.
- There are logical alternatives to bans. Lawmakers must not turn a blind eye to doing what is right by their constituents.
- 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.
- Laws that effectively create collective punishment are bad governance. Such approaches are senseless and unjust.
- The proposal is cost prohibitive for most keepers, attainable likely only for wealthier citizens. A law which cannot be applied equally across classes is unjust.
subject line: NO to “dangerous wild animal” ban
Dear Mayor Baldwin and Raleigh City Council Members,
Please do not pass a ban on “dangerous wild animals.” I state this as a law-abiding Raleigh resident who will be negatively impacted by any rash action. Rather than focusing on reckless residents, this proposal would affect some responsible animal owners, too.
The draft ordinance is poorly written. It states that all non-domesticated animals could be banned. At a minimum, this needs to be fixed! Since the draft reads “but not limited to” this ordinance would ban all animals except dogs, housecats, and domesticated livestock. This is a big problem! Also, Option 2 is not a true grandfathering provision! It requires very expensive liability insurance that is hard to procure. This insurance will costs those who are “grandfathered” several thousand dollars annually. This is unjust and overreaching for responsible private owners who do not have businesses with their animals. Has the City even researched this liability insurance or just accepted this idea from a radical animal rights group?
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, has provided hefty punishment for irresponsible reptile keepers who violated this law. If Raleigh wants to implement a local law reflecting the state law, local residents and responsible stakeholders should be included in the drafting of this ordinance rather than passing a knee-jerk ban that will actually create many new problems.
Reactive bans lack the necessary forethought and research to avert unjust consequences. As a tax-paying, voting, and responsible Raleigh resident, my rights should not be stripped. You cannot justifiably ban such activities from responsible reptile keepers, known as herpetoculturists, and other competent exotic animal owners. There needs to, at minimum, be a consideration for those who currently have these animals.
This unjust proposed ban is unexpected from my state of North Carolina. Have a good day.
include YOUR NAME (at least your first name) and “Raleigh resident”