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Calling out irresponsible owners

Posted by Mystic Exotics at 4/23/2012 10:41:49 PM

Whether it be someone who is neglecting their animals, sending out sick animals, those that hoard any/all animal they can get their hands on, or someone who blatantly disregards the laws, & publicly admits they obtained an animal (banned from crossing state lines), & took it home,  ultimately making them a felon in doing so. Then flippantly saying "how are they going to enforce it?", & later changing their story & original post, to deny the fact that they did blatantly ignore the law.

These people are a very poor representation of the herp community. They are the reason herp keepers have a bad rap in the first place.

It is our responsibility, as reptile keepers, to call these people out. To show them, & the public, that there are responsible owners won't just sit back & ignore the problem.

We are in the middle of a huge fight, nation wide, just to be able to keep reptiles, & have lost in some areas, but the fight continues. We have a long fight a head of us, & these irresponsible owners are making it worse for that fight.

It is very frustrating to see people who think they are above the law, or above everyone else, & feel like they can do whatever they want, when the responsible keepers are doing what they can to fight to be able to keep reptiles.

We care about the animals. We care about being able to keep our animals. Kudos to those who have the nerve to stand up to these irresponsible people, so that we might have a better chance at keeping our animals.

 Comments: View Oldest First  

Paul White,
Posted At: 4/23/2012 11:14:05 PM  

Agreed. I may disagree with that law (very strongly) but flagrantly posting about violating the law is dumb.

I know Texas Parks and Wildlife monitors most of the major snake boards (kingsnake, fauna, field herp forum, a few others-I've never asked about iHerp). From what I've heard Colorado's does to, and I know the feds do.  If you think they *don't* then I've got a bridge to sell you. 

Paul White,
Posted At: 4/23/2012 11:15:23 PM  

wish I could edit: I also know several law enforcement people that are herp keepers...but if you think they *won't* turn in a violator out of some brotherly feeling, then you're frigging deluded.

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/23/2012 11:24:24 PM  

I'm sure there are agencies all over that monitor various websites (Facebook as well), to find people that are violating the laws.

Hey, does your bridge give legal right of passage? ;)

Posted At: 4/23/2012 11:31:07 PM  

I was told by someone today who was asking if I thought African Rock Python's were okay to have.  I had to clarify what he meant, but I told him about the Lacey Act, he said he already knew but talked to a cop and they wouldn't do anything.  I got pretty annoyed with this and told him that cop might not, but DNR will and I for one will not risk the felony and no one should!

This is a great post Heather, thank you!

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/23/2012 11:35:24 PM  

Yeah, it's not generally the local police that will enforce it (although they might contact those that do).

Paul White,
Posted At: 4/23/2012 11:37:45 PM  

From listening to cops talk, a lot of it depends on thier departments and thier individual relationships with people in the right agency.  If you get stopped by a beat cop who happens to be friends with a local fish and game guy you're probably in trouble.  If he's not, probably not...unless thier department has a policy of fowarding violations (and some do).
I'm not an LEO but social services interact with them on a semi-regular basis, so I've heard some of this, and asked some of  these sorts of questions myself.

Bart Sharrah,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 5:16:35 AM  

Agreed.  It appears the blog that started this was deleted but I found it amusing that the person kept remarking on other people's "character" in her responses, yet obviously had complete disregard for her own.

Ed ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 8:29:07 AM  

Anyone neglecting or misrepresenting their animals should be called out, no doubt about it.   And I'm not condoning or suggesting that breaking any laws is appropriate.   However, it seems like this discussion is yet another case of us focusing on a symptom rather than the root problem, which is a gigantic, over-intrusive government that controls almost every aspect of our lives.  Why the hell should some idiot who neglects his snakes reflect on me or any one of the vast majority of snake owners that are caring and responsible??   I'm sorry, I don't accept that.   Aside from being illogical, if that's the case, we are all screwed.   Some parents abuse their own children; does that mean the government should be able to ban me from having children?   There are thousands of murders committed every year with knives and guns, does that mean I should be banned from having a guns and knives?

Seems like the "reptile community" is acting solely out of fear.   I understand that,  but it's not a good position to be in, imo, and it almost certainly will result in more bans/laws, since despite our attempts at wishing it away, there will unfortunately ALWAYS be few idiots who neglect and misrepresent their animals.   As far as willingly/knowingly breaking laws, I'm not condoning it, but ask yourselves what you will do if and when the species you keep is/are banned.   At some point in the near future, we probably all will be faced with the choice of whether we want to be a criminal or not.

"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." -TJ

Paul White,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 8:44:56 AM  

I think our point is that if we don't make it clear that we do not accept abuse/neglect and law-breaking, that it looks like we condone it...particularly when it is a fairly public instance.  Particularly when someone is effectively BRAGGING about doing it! It'd be like if dog owners acted like it was OK when people neglected and abused dogs, even if they themselves never would.

Posted At: 4/24/2012 8:53:04 AM  

I understand "why" some people might break a law, but boasting about it and acting like it's not a big deal I don't agree with.  I'm a firm believer in that if you don't agree with a law work towards changing it cause if you just break the law, you'll only be met with stricter laws and more problems.  There are certain laws that I think are stupid and I'm sure I've broken some, but I don't tell anyone.  It's not about being a rebel.

Ed ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 9:14:16 AM  

Of course anyone who breaks the law then brags about it is an idiot.  I'm not arguing that point.  What I'm saying is that that idiot who does break the law and brags about it should in no way reflect on anyone else but him.   This concept that the actions of one idiot somehow reflects on me just because he and I coincidentally own snakes is bullbacon, and it's the same "progressive" thought process that has gotten our country into this mess.   Just because a bunch of people own snakes does not mean they are a collective; rather, they are a bunch of individuals who just happen to have the same hobby.   

Like I said, despite our wishful thinking, there will always be a few who break laws, whether it be shipping snakes, abusing/murdering their own children or shooting guns illegally.   Wringing our hands about it isn't going to make the avalanche of laws go away, because those pushing the laws are not interested in responsible ownerhship, they want NO ownership of reptiles.    If that's not clear to folks by now, I'm not really sure there is any hope at all.

Posted At: 4/24/2012 9:26:41 AM  

I agree it shouldn't reflect on the rest of us, you are completely correct, unfortunately it sometimes does and any effort to say, we won't stand for that is better than nothing.  At least that's my opinion.

Ryan Larson,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 9:59:41 AM  

I wish I could've seen the blog this was about... however I completey agree a law is a law and I for one will not test my luck with smuggling skills for a felony lol

Emily ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 12:46:44 PM  

Excellent post, Heather.  I completely agree.  Blatantly posting on the internet (and on a public forum, no less) about how you broke a federal law is about the dumbest thing one can do.  I have to admit I was a bit shocked and disappointed with that post.

Posted At: 4/24/2012 1:00:16 PM  

Such a nice post to read. I typically do not get worked up about a lot, I used to and have found it usually isn't worth the energy. This subject matter, however, does hit a sensitive spot.

Ed, I think the point you made is a big portion of it. Just because someone else does something ignorant/illegal/stupid/wrong/etc I as a responsible keeper should not be lumped in with them. In reality we are whether we like it or not. If someone's improperly kept large constricter gets out and constricts a child, it is not just the owner of that snake that gets in trouble, we all come under fire whether you even own a large constricter. It doesn't matter how amazing we are are keepers/breeders, the general public and media has a negative opinion and even one bad media spot further enforces that. I know just about everyone has had at least one (and most likely a lot more) person spout off on how evil and dangerous their reptiles were the moment they mentioned them. I think that is why this is such a community, individually we can make a difference (whether good of bad) to the whole and the slightest wrong can be a huge setback for any progress made.

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 1:06:42 PM  

Ed, I do see your point, & I agree that idiot owners should not reflect on the rest of us, but the fact is, they do. Our hobby has a negative image as it is. Mostly based in ignorance. But when the child of some idiot is killed because they used a blanket for a tank lid, then left the child unattended at home, that reflect poorly on the rest of us. Yes, the government is a bigger problem, but when someone in our community brags on a very public site, about bringing home a snake, from another state, & we all know is a felony, to sit back & pretend we didn't see it is only going to hurt us worse.

I have more to say, but I have to leave for class. I will add more later today when I can get back online.

BTW, if someone happens to have a copy of the original blog, as well as modified blog, she cannot really deny it, can she?

Dave Pierson,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 2:21:37 PM  

Great post.  The thing that irritates me with this issue is that there is already a movement againt reptile ownership, and everytime somebody does something stupid like this, they give the people that are against us more ammunition.  It is the proverbial "shooting yourself in the foot", except you are shooting every other herp owner in the foot as well.  I have actually considered turning people in on craigslist "rehoming" conditional species, (I live in Florida, with a number of "conditional species" that are not allowed for personal use.)  I normally email them as I think they don't realize what they are doing, but everytime I reconsider just emailing a link to Florida FWC.  I don't want to be "that guy", but I don't want these idiots screwing things up for everybody else either. 

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 5:11:23 PM  

Dave, that is exactly my point of this blog.  When someone is either so arrogant or stupid, that they publicly post about doing something illegal, they deserve to get caught.

There are three people from this community that I have in mind for this blog. The first & most obvious is due to the recent blog (if anyone wants to see the original, & the modified blogs let me know. Also, anyone who commented on the blog, can still open it back up, if you have the email notification about the blog, click on "view the entire thread here").  Another person appears to have essentially disappeared, after being called out, & the third is still at a point where she can do the right thing. Time will tell on that one.

I'm not saying we need to seek out irresponsible people in our hobby, but when someone goes public about doing something illegal, or is the first to condemn someone else, when they are being irresponsible, or someone who has admitted to a potentially big problem, but then tried to cover it up, then they should be called on it. We all know that things happen, even to those who are very responsible keepers, the thing is how you handle it, that makes you responsible or irresponsible.

Kristin ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 5:23:12 PM  

This is a great post!!!!!

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 6:15:16 PM  

Paul, I agree that even if local LE doesn't enforce it, they would likely forward the info to the ones that do. In my case, I work in 911, & we dispatch for most of the County. I live & work in the main City of the County. So even if local PD gets involved, my job is involved.

If it became illegal to own any/all of the reptiles that I do, I would have to give up these animals that I love. I won't risk my job. Especially a felony, which can affect the rest of your life.

Posted At: 4/24/2012 6:36:49 PM  

this is an awesome topic. Some people end up with illegal species because another person had one and had to get rid of it and the only other option was euthanization of the animal. I can usually forgive circumstances like that, assuming they dont go around telling everyone, because then the animal will get put down for sure because person A was a moron. However, get an animal YOU KNOW is illegal ON PURPOSE (aka buying it or catching it w/e) is SO stupid and looks SO bad, and then bragging about it? that is just icing on the cake. 

Dont get me wrong, I dont want to break any laws, and I dont want other people to break any laws either. I do agree with some of the poster's here that yes, some of these laws are STUPID, but its still a law. Work to get it changed, or STFU. Dont break it because you can.

I hate that these jerks who break and brag make the rest of us look bad, but i almost wish they would do it more, so they could get turned in.

If it became illegal to own my animals, well, then i would be a felon, because I love my pets and I would not let them be euthanized. However, if it was like the Lacey Act thing, where you can not transport them over state lines, then I would just move within my state. 

Rami B,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 7:58:03 PM  

And the one who flaunted her breaking the law wonders why people do not want to sell to her. Hmmmmmm, really can't think of a reason...................

In all seriousness, most people look askance at reptile owners, and one bad egg makes a huge ripple that spreads outwards. In order to protect our hobby, we have to obey the laws(whether we agree with them or not), and we all have to do our best and work together. No, being backed into a corner in fear for our pets is not the best place to be, which is why we need to act together while we can make a difference. Many of us keep reptiles strictly as pets, and a fair few of us work with species that need protecting and are going extinct in their native ranges from hunting, deforestation, invasive species out-competing for resources, etc. These pets of ours are worth protecting.

Elly Russell,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 8:00:39 PM  

I think Florida is really the only state that actually has some legitimate reasons for not wanting certain exotic reptiles there. Loose Pythons and Tegus are causing mass chaos in that eco system :/ But really, responsible owners shouldn't have to suffer because of idiots who lost or released their pets.

Rami B,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 9:13:37 PM  

Elly, here in Washington state we have a major problem with Red Eared Sliders and American Bullfrogs.. both of which outcompete the native reptiles and amphibians. RESes especially are a human-related problem since people see the cute wee turtle they bought a year ago is growing up.. and getting too big for them, so they release them into ponds and waterways... so it's not just Florida that has a right to be unhappy with irresponsible owners. I personally feel that bans should be a state by state decision(I don't see burmese pythons surviving in WA state, winter sets in and they are dead meat), not a federal law that restricts all of us unreasonably.

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 11:41:15 PM  

Troll comments will be deleted

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/24/2012 11:42:06 PM  

(I gather that previous comment was trolling, based on their blog, titled the same)

Bart Sharrah,
Posted At: 4/25/2012 6:03:52 AM  

You guessed correctly.

Posted At: 4/25/2012 12:01:24 PM  

thank you for deleting that comment. 
like Rami said, there is a HUGE problem esp. with the bullfrogs because the bull frogs are eating the western pond turtles when they are young. THere is a reintroduction movement going on, but it is coming at the huge cost of having to completely eradicate all invasive species to do so. That gets expensive, fast. I can understand permits, just not actual ban bans. 

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/25/2012 5:00:35 PM  

I just don't get how someone who owns reptiles themselves, can stand behind any of these bans. I don't own any of "the big nine", I wouldn't want to, & I do think they can be a problem in the wrong hands. HOWEVER, a ban is not the answer. People are naive if they think that they won't stop at those animals. There are people pushing for this that have stated that they would like to see ALL animal ownership banned, including cats & dogs.

Regulate what needs to be regulated. Make sure you are being a responsible owner. Call out the irresponsible owners. Fight against these rediculous bills, even if it doesn't affect you now....because it will at some point!

Posted At: 4/25/2012 7:15:02 PM  

please dont respond to the deleted comment, you are feeding the troll.

Mystic Exotics ,
Posted At: 4/25/2012 7:19:37 PM  

This is how I feel regardless of any troll comments. There are far too many complacent reptile owners out there, that have the "it doesn't pertain to me, so I don't really care" attitude.


Posted At: 4/25/2012 7:24:48 PM  

^ True that. I totally agree. I had to leave one of my favorite forums because some of them are TOTAL idiots who owned lizards were actively sending money to the HSUS to "stop animal cruelty" and that they somehow believed that "their" donation would not be turned against them, only "used" for helping sows in sow pens....I could not believe their ignorance, and even after tons of facts and other evidence that was obviously showing them to be wrong, one of them used the "God tells me what to do so go F yourself* excuse and another one made it sound like I just love animal cruelty. UGH!!

I mean, look at this Ohio BS! This isnt even just about reptiles there anymore, they are banning every damn animal they think they can get away with! 

Posted At: 4/26/2012 7:33:25 AM  

I completely agree as well, I remember when bacon was going down in VA and I went down to lobby, I knew people who could have gotten off work and come down, but they didn't want to use their vacation time.  I didn't want to use my vacation time for that either since we shouldn't have to be dealing with this, but we are and I did.  Kind of made me irritated that someone who I knew for a fact could get off work wouldn't bother, but then tries to act like they are all involved and part of the reptile community.  As far as I'm concerned they aren't!

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