Posted: Aug. 30, 2012, 7:35 p.m. EDT
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Washington, D.C., is participating in the Dangerous Animal Initiative, a workgroup created by the Virginia Deptartment of Game and Inland Fisheries, in conjunction with the University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation, for the purposes of identifying issues and developing recommendations about public safety and potentially dangerous animals in Virginia.
The public’s input is being sought regarding public safety and potentially dangerous animals via an online survey here.
The survey is open for public input through Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. All input will be reviewed and used to develop recommendations about public safety and any future regulation dealing with potentially dangerous animals in Virginia.
The Initiative group is made up of about 30 stakeholders, including pet industry groups, business owners, state and federal agencies, zoos, nonprofit organizations and experts with potentially dangerous animals.
It is likely, according to PIJAC, that the survey findings will lead to the introduction of legislation regulating potentially dangerous animals in the upcoming session of the Virginia General Assembly, which would be January 2013. Virginia currently has no laws defining “dangerous wild animal” or “potentially dangerous wild animal.”
PIJAC played a role in having similar kinds of bills put on hold during previous Virginia legislative sessions because of numerous “unacceptable provisions” in those bills.
PIJAC urges anyone who owns or deals in the business of animals that could be considered “dangerous or potentially dangerous” to take the survey. PIJAC is also soliciting recommendations directly so that they can be relayed to the Initiative work group. You can contact PIJAC’s Michael Maddox or Bambi Nicole Osborne at 202-452-1525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to offer recommendations and comments, or to ask questions.
PIJAC seeks to ensure that by participating in the Initiative, a measured legislative response will be taken in addressing public safety and potentially dangerous animals in Virginia. PIJAC supports reasonable regulation of animals that may pose a threat to public health or safety, but does not support outright bans of any animals. PIJAC believes that ownership of animals not generally kept as pets and that could pose a threat be restricted to those with the knowledge and facilities to safely keep them.<HOME>
The Dangerous Animal Initiative came about because of the widely publicized release of more than 50 dangerous exotic animals by one individual in Ohio in 2011. It was this nationally covered event that prompted Virginia Governor McDonnell to ask the Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries to review Virginia’s policies and regulations on dangerous exotic animals.
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