Feds consider more regulations for large constrictor snakes

Pet shops owner says it will hurt business

WEST PALM BEACH - Sleek, slithery snakes are the perfect pets for some people. Others cringe at the thought.

A new federal proposal would place restrictions on some types of constrictors. Before wildlife leaders take action, they're asking for public comment. And pet store owners don't like the idea.

"Snakes since the beginning of time have been demonized and made evil," explained Aaron Joyce, the co-owner of Wild Cargo Pets in West Palm Beach.

He claimed snakes, with their brown eyes and long tongues, aren't as dangerous as you think, and the perception hurts them.

"It's very easy to have the knee-jerk, pendulum reaction 'oh we have a problem ban it ban it all!' That seems to be the government's solution to everything these days," Joyce said.

In 2012, the federal government listed four types of constrictor snakes, like Burmese pythons, as injurious. That means they're could be harmful to humans, native animals and agriculture.

When an animal is on that list, you cannot import it to the USA or take from one state to another without a special permit from the federal government.

Now federal agencies want to add five more snakes to the list: green anacondas, Beni anacondas, DeSchauensee's anacondas, boa constrictors and reticulated pythons.

"It's a hard struggle already and they're taking what has kept us alive for over 50 years, that niche business, away from us," explained Joyce.

He said the changes will hurt business. His annual revenues fell by more than $150,000 after the 2012 changes, which regulated more animals than just snakes.

On top of everything, he says the new rules aren't necessary. Most snake owners are responsible and laws are already in place to regulate snake ownership, authorities just need to enforce them.

"It's your basic American right to own what you want as long as you're not endangering the lives of other people," Joyce pointed out.

Thursday is the deadline to submit public comment. Click here to find out more.

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