The W.Va. Senate is in the process of passing Bill 477 and HB 4344 banning exotic animals that extend to a wide range of species. In this bill, you will be required to buy permits and have $250,000 liability insurance on your parrot, ferret, guinea pig and other common family pets, and, oh yeah, when it dies you can't have another pet of that kind.
I wonder how many pet stores will close, increasing unemployment, loss revenue to the state in sales tax, after all you can get dog and cat food at Wal-Mart. I don't know many parents that will buy their child a hamster or bird knowing they have yearly permits and liability insurance to buy.
The bill was written in response to the Zanesville, Ohio, animal farm incident and an alligator that got loose in downtown Parkersburg last year.
I think it's great our politicians want to protect us from being mauled to death by a small bird or hamster, but isn't the real issue about alligators, tiger breeds, poisonous reptiles, bears and large breeds of primates?
I got a response from Sen. Nohe indicating he realizes the bill was lacking some exceptions and was trying to make changes. Delegate Ellem just flat out wants to ban all exotic animals, citing the alligator incident, because he wants to protect the public. That kind of closed-minded thinking by Ellem should have led us to ban all attorneys from driving in West Virginia when a Parkersburg attorney was arrested for DUI recently, because now all attorneys are a threat to the public when driving.
There are over 4.7 million dog bites each year in the United States and two weeks ago a baby was just mauled to death by a dog in Pennsylvania, yet you don't see the politicians writing a bill to ban dogs because they own dogs. I had hoped that common sense would prevail and the politicians would only ban the dangerous breeds of exotic animals but the fear of the killer hamsters, parrots, and ferrets roaming the streets of West Virginia must be too great for them to bear.
2010 WV Animal Bite Stats: