‘Dangerous animals’ list could prove costly

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Want to own a salamander? That’ll be $100.

Want to own three turtles? That’ll be $300, along with the ability to show you can properly cage or maintain them, and possibly a lengthy wait for a permit.

That’s the upshot of an exhaustive list produced last week of animals that are considered dangerous either to humans or local environments under the newly established West Virginia Dangerous Wild Animals Act. The law doesn’t mean people in the state can’t necessarily keep the animals on the list, but doing so will require a permit.

It means just about anyone looking to own something other than a domesticated dog, cat or goldfish will have to pay up, show they can be responsible and get approved.

That approval has to come from a board comprised of representatives from the state Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health and Human Resources.

Those same agencies are the ones who came up with the list of dangerous animals, because the legislation left the decision to them.

Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, was one of 23 state House members to vote against the measure during the 2014 Legislature.

“I wanted it to say in state code you can’t have alligators, you can’t have tigers, you can’t have bears,” Sobonya said. “What they have come up with, saying hamsters are OK, but not rabbits and things like that, it makes no sense. There were too many cooks in the kitchen…

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