ALERT: Wake County, NC - Jul 22, 2021

Wake County, North Carolina may be proposing a ban on certain reptiles and exotic animals. Local residents should engage with their Board of Commissioner representatives ASAP. A county law would apply to all unincorporated areas (those living outside of city limits) of Wake County. NOTE: We have a state alert posted at ALERT: North Carolina | USARK - United States Association of Reptile Keepers.

This effort is happening after an irresponsible venomous snake keeper in Raleigh allowed a cobra to escape. North Carolina already has a comprehensive state law regarding specific reptiles, including venomous snakes, with requirements for safe caging, and for protocols for handling, envenomation, and escape. However, all it takes is one incident to trigger knee-jerk legislation.

Wake County lawmakers must hear from local residents (details below)!

The current state law is North Carolina General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55. Titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles,” (or just “Article 55”), it can be found at https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_14/Article_55.pdf.

Bans do not protect the public nor serve the public interest! Sound, rational, common-sense policy that fits reality is what the people deserve. Remember that lawmakers must be educated on reptiles, reptile keeping, and the current state law! Realize that they know very little (if anything) about these subjects.

Who to contact

Email list: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

List of Wake County Board Commissioners (click name for phone number and other details): Commissioners | Wake County Government

2021 Wake County Commissioner meeting schedule is at this link. The next regular meeting is August 16 and the next work session is August 9. https://s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/wakegov.com.if-us-west-2/prod/documents/2021-07/2021%20BOC%20meeting%20schedule.pdf

Find your County district at this link. Click on “Board of Commissioner Districts” and then match up where you live with your assigned Commissioner: Electoral District Lookup

Contact the Board members! Please call, email, and set in-office or virtual (i.e. Zoom) meetings!

  • Remember that you MUST be professional and civil at all times.
  • Please edit/personalize your letters.
  • Please supply North Carolina addresses when completing the forms!
  • Wake County residents’ voices and opposition are needed!
  • In-person meetings and phone calls will have the most impact.
  • Always remember that lawmakers are public servants. They are there to listen to you and there is no reason to be intimidated or fearful of meeting with them.

Talking Points for calls, letters, and communications.
These can be used to customize calls/letters.

  1. North Carolina has a comprehensive law regarding certain reptiles, including venomous species. That law is General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55 titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles,” and it remains an effective basis for the punishment of irresponsible keepers, and the protection of North Carolina residents.
  2. The current state law did not fail! It only fails if the violator is not charged.
  3. Article 55 regarding certain reptile species is a common-sense and rational law.
  4. A knee-jerk response in legislative action that ignores current law is inappropriate, while unjustly abolishing the right of stakeholders to engage in the legislative process.
  5. A ban on reptile keeping would rip away conservation and breeding programs from responsible reptile keepers.
  6. Wake County needs to consider a common-sense approach by working with stakeholders and not an overreaching, knee-jerk ban lacking forethought.
  7. Wake County Commissioners must be properly educated on this matter, and those responsible stakeholders who will be affected, rather than getting caught up in the sensationalism and limelight of an incident.
  8. There are logical alternatives to bans. Lawmakers must not turn a blind eye to doing what is right by their constituents.
  9. Rather than solving any issues, bans create new problems including incentivizing criminals through an underground, black market and the fear-driven release of non-native animals.
  10. Laws that effectively create collective punishment are bad governance. Such approaches are senseless and unjust.

Sample Messaging

subject line: NO to reptile ban

Dear Wake County Board of Commissioners,

I ask that you do not pass a ban or similarly unjust law regarding certain reptiles. I state this as a Wake County resident who will be negatively impacted by any rash action taken due to a recent incident in Raleigh involving an escaped cobra. The person guilty of this incident is already liable under current state law and will be charged.

You must listen to responsible stakeholders rather than practicing collective punishment in response to one bad actor. Current state law, under Chapter 14, Article 55, will serve punishment for the irresponsible snake keeper who violated this law. This clearly proves that the current law works. If Wake County wants to implement a local law reflecting the state law, local residents and responsible stakeholders should be included in the drafting of this ordinance rather than passing a knee-jerk ban that will actually create many new problems.

As a tax-paying, voting, and responsible Wake County resident, my rights should not be stripped due to the actions of one person who violated a current law. You cannot justifiably ban such activities from responsible reptile keepers, known as herpetoculturists, who are numerous, widespread, and have remained compliant under the existing state reptile law.

A ban would be a travesty, and unexpected from my state of North Carolina. There is not the rationale nor logic to support a ban. Rather than force injustice upon responsible reptile keepers, ensure that justice is served by punishing the person who broke the existing law. Do what is right by responsible Wake County residents who work with reptiles. Have a good day.

Sincerely,

include YOUR NAME (at least your first name) and “Wake County resident”