|By Dave Boucher, Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
While the list clears up some issues noted on early versions, there could still be some changes -- the list prohibits all rabbits and hares -- that need to be made.
"If some things need to be spelled out further, thats what needs to take place," said
The state does not plan to ban domestic rabbits, which the state veterinarian believes are covered by a part of law exempt in the new rule, Antolini said.
Noting people's passion for their pets, Antolini said they expect many comments.
"The rule is out there with the list for the public to send in their feedback on it, and we want them to do that. That's why it's out there," Antolini said.
The list, available at the department's website and www.charlestondailymail.com, is contained in a proposed legislative rule filed Wednesday with the
Right now there are few restrictions on animal ownership in
Exotic animal ownership exists in the state: earlier this week law enforcement found a roughly 3-foot-long alligator in the backyard of a
The new state law, passed this year, was first proposed following the 2011 release of dozens of exotic animals from a private zoo in
Most of the animals on the list are the same as those included in the first draft: elephants, piranha, several types of pythons and whales are still prohibited.
Following questions about the initial list though, there are several noticeable changes. The initial draft list said all primates "except those in family Hominidae" were banned. That particular family includes gorillas and chimpanzees.
Saying it made a typo, the Wild and Dangerous Animal Board clarified it would be banning those animals. The current list says all non-human primates are banned.
The new list also includes potentially sweeping exemptions for animals like pigs, cows, sheep and goats. The rule says "domestic animals, traditional livestock and alternative livestock" are regulated by the Agriculture department under a different section of state law and are exempt from the list.
Previously, the list specifically outlined some of those exemptions but didn't include an overall exemption. That list left in question whether Alpaca, an animal similar to a llama becoming popular as livestock for its fur, would be banned.
After the release of the first draft list, Antolini said he thought Alpaca were covered under livestock in state code. Although there is no specific mention of Alpaca or their scientific order in state law, the exemption also includes a vast array of legislative rules which could cover the animals.
Antolini thinks it's the same case with rabbits and hares. While neither animal nor their scientific order are mentioned specifically in state code, it's very likely domestic rabbits as pets or rabbits as livestock are covered in the large body of legislative rules cited as exempt in the new draft rule, Antolini said.
Several of the more contentious animals are still on the list.
After publishing the initial draft, the Daily Mail received many comments about the state's proposal to ban animals like sugar gliders and hedgehogs but allow zebras. Zebras are still exempt, with hedgehogs and sugar gliders -- small mammals similar to flying squirrels -- are still banned.
All toads, salamanders and turtles are also banned. Contrary to a flier circulated on social media, certain types of domestic hamsters, mice, rats and guinea pigs are exempt from the list.
Members of the subcommittee that created the draft list say there is a legitimate reason for every animal on the list.
People who own these animals can still keep them if they are granted a permit by the board. They must abide by several rules in order to receive a permit: they can't breed or replace the animal, they must notify law enforcement if the animal escapes, no one else can handle the animal and the owner must have at least
There is a
The rule says the board must meet by
The public comment period is open until
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