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Closing the year

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Hello everyone,

I apologize for another gap in these blogs. We have had an eventful 2015. CHET has been present at most of the Tennessee Repticon events, we did miss the last Memphis outing. We also were there for the first Reptiday Asheville as well as both Bristol events. We didn’t set-up at the second Bristol Reptiday, but I did attend to do a presentation. The two out of state events brought to my attention that crossing state lines presents different challenges than attending in state events. I was unaware, until a few days prior, that Virginia requires more licenses to display animals than it does to sell them, that is why we decided not to set-up at the second event. In both cases, we were unable to take our new mascot, Chet, due to the state line we would have to cross. He was also excluded from our Knoxville outing, due to the six foot limit inside city limits. Hopefully, we can work things out in time to show him in Knoxville this year.

Chet himself has had an eventful year. I’ve shared the story of how we obtained him. Thanks again to those involved in his rescue. What I hadn’t disclosed, until now, is that after we had Chet with us, he developed a severe infection. His mouth was swollen and distended and one eye was completely full of pus. Thanks to Greg, Angelia and their local vet, he is nearly fully recovered. He is back to his normal, curious self.

The reptile community, as a whole, has seen some major incidents this year also. We’ve heard of multiple cobras escaping across the country, sometimes involving the death of the keepers. Each of these events has shined poorly on all of us. One of these cases has since been deemed suicide by snake, while another was a case of an experienced keeper inadvertently allowing an escape. In the case of the escape, the owner is facing serious criminal charges, which include loosing his license to keep venomous and forfeiture of his animals. This only shows how each of us can be a positive or negative on our hobby. We must strive to all be responsible keepers.

We have observed countless anti-snake news articles, many of which I have shared on Facebook. While I try and post comments supporting our struggle when I read these articles, they can quickly devolve to the haters hating. When responding to these stories, we must maintain dignified and enlightened facts as opposed to insults and snears. Always be prepared to show facts and statistics, otherwise the outsiders will assume you are just one of those “snake freaks”.

One of the few positive reptile pieces we have seen involved the woman in Maine, who had several animals confiscated and euthanized. While this may not sound positive, the reporter, Chris Costa, at least did his best to take an unbiased stance on the story. It appears that the woman had rescued a burm, which requires a permit to own in her area, and nursed it back to health. When she attempted to obtain a permit to legally keep the animal, she was given the run around and denied her application. Neighbors eventually reported her for having the snake and the authorities forcibly exercised a search and seizure warrant. Along with the burm, they seized two boas and another harmless species. No attempt was made to place any of the animals. They were all deemed as dangerous to Maine’s ecosystem and put down. We all know that very few species are actually able to survive in Maine’s environment, but apparently the local government doesn’t.

I saw a post from Repticon this morning. It appears that the local authorities have upped the license fee from $50 a show to $200 annually for the Atlanta show. I’m not sure if this is statewide or just the ATL, but it still is a blow to the small vendor. Smaller vendors struggle to break even at many of these shows. Oftentimes they lose money after figuring in licenses, set-up fees, travel expenses and hotel costs. The increased fees will probably reduce the number of vendors attending, which in turn will reduce the number of people turning out. Changes like this could ultimately cause a reduction of events that Repticon can present each year.

USARK is still actively pursuing their lawsuit against the Lacy restrictions. FWS has presented their appeal of the injunction on retics and green anacondas. While it appears this is far from settled, we must continue to hope for the best.

I’m sure I’ve missed some of the major stories we’ve seen this year, but those are the ones that stick in my mind currently. Hopefully 2016 will see more positives and less negatives. As always we will remain Looking Forward.

I want to wish everyone a joyous Holiday Season. Happy Herping!

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