Officials Review Banned Animal List
Written by Lauren McMillen
Last updated on July 18, 2014 @ 4:20PM
Created on July 17, 2014 @ 6:29PM
5 News reported on a new bill that could put a ban on people owning wild animals. Now, state officials met on Thursday to discuss which animals should and should not be placed on that list.
Rabbits, turtles, and hamsters were just a few of the animals that were removed from the draft list. Officials are listening to the public's input and concern. The process of determining which animals make the cut is ongoing.
The West Virginia Dangerous Wild Animals Act would prevent people from owning lions, tigers,bears and several other exotic animals.
So what's the reason behind this ban?
Lawmakers believe it's more of a safety concern. They say it will help stop the spread of certain diseases that these species carry, along with keeping better track of these creatures and making sure they do no harm.
"We certainly don't want what happened in Zanesville to happen here. A couple of years ago, wild and dangerous animals were released there. So by having this database of where these animal exactly are, we will know what is out there. So if there is a release we will know the number and type of each animal," said Dr. Jewell Plumley, State Veterinarian.
Owners who already own these exotic creatures will be able to keep them, but they will have to get a state permit and that comes at a costly price. Owners will have to pay $100 for each animal.
5 News talked to some pet owners who are on both sides on the fence when it comes to this ban.
"People pay enough just getting the animals and having to take care of them responsibly, let alone having to pay more out of their pocket. I just hope it initially won't hurt any of the people who would like to get some pets," said David McClung, small animal supervisor at Eastern Pet Supply.
"For a child's pet, I think that's a little high price to put on that. Especially for a child who can't afford a pet, you're taking away a kid's happiness," said Tammy Morris, Lewis County resident.
The Mountain State is one of the few states that currently does not have any regulations on wild animals. People are encouraged to reach out to the DNR to voice their opinions and concerns. Public comment is open until August 1st.
The rule making committee will meet later this year to finalize the full list of banned animals.
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