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Keep up with news and features of interest to the reptile and amphibian community on the kingsnake.com blog. We cover breaking stories from the mainstream and scientific media, user-submitted photos and videos, and feature articles and photos by Jeff Barringer, Richard Bartlett, and other herpetologists and herpetoculturists.

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The exit of Andrew Wyatt

By Jeff Barringer
Mon, January 7 2013 at 18:17

Comments
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)

Andrew - #1 - 2013-01-07 18:56 - (Reply)

Jeff,
With Wyatt gone, where do you stand with USARK under it's new leadership? Much of what you have written here seems (probably rightfully so) that the issue between USARK and kingsnake was more to do with Wyatt's day to day handling than anything else.

Varanid - #2 - 2013-01-07 18:59 - (Reply)

Honestly, a lot of those could/should be answered by either party, in particular the 1st, 2nd and 4th. USARK also needs to elaborate on what it is changing in response to whatever happened so as to prevent a repeat.

Jeff Barringer - #3 - 2013-01-07 19:21 - (Reply)

We have decided that the current USARK board will be able to replace Andrew without too much difficulty, and that the changes they are implementing are the right ones. We will now be supporting USARK as long as they remain committed to the changes, and oversite, they have promised. I have spoken at length with Gary Bagnall and several other board members about the current situation and it's impact on moving forward. I have sent Gary and these board members some recommendations that I and others hav for changes we would like to see to make the organization more transparent, and more democratic, with members having a greater influence on policy and direction, and more voice in the organization in general.

Jason - #4 - 2013-01-07 19:31 - (Reply)

This is very interesting, especially having been involved in the pet industry for so long and having met Wyatt and listening to what he had to say on several occasions when he asked the company I used to work for, for donations, which they gave. I even attended a meeting in Daytona as a representative of the company I worked for, because they were curious what went on at those meetings. Seeing as USARK has support from most of the big companies with the money to donate to that type of organization, where does he expect to get funding for his new venture? After reading this hopefully no one will support his new organization and it will quietly disappear.

And know I didn't resign from my job at the company I worked for that supported USARK, I simply quit to move back home to be closer to my family. so you won't be reading a juicy write up like this about me LOL.

Brendan - #5 - 2013-01-07 19:51 - (Reply)

Jeff,

I have a few questions for you.

Are you running Kingsnake.com to help the entire reptile industry, your industry friends or your pocket?

How much money have you or Kingsnake.com directly contributed to help the industry?

Is it your policy and the policy of Kingsnake to hold payments for ads/services hostage and not answer email related to these ads until the person placing the ad has no choice other then to file a payment claim. Then to be quickly kicked off Kingsnake for filing the claim by you claiming they are a threat to your business?

Do you remove or block access to Kingsnake because that person or company may be in direct competition to your "friends"?

Will you remove this post because you may think it is directly negative to you?

I don't see any difference between you/Kingsnake and Andrew/USark except maybe a different agenda and you trying to peacock by saying I told you so and look at me!

Maybe if Andrew or USark could have only directly benefitted your wallet. You would be singing a different song.

Jeff Barringer - #6 - 2013-01-07 20:05 - (Reply)

kingsnake.com is a business and donates a substantial portion of its revenues to the community. Last year we spent over $12,000 cash in addition to thousands of dollars of services to put on the NRAAC symposium. I can post receipts. How much did you donate in 2012

From your questions I would say that you have been banned from using our classifieds and have attempted to circumvent your ban on multiple occasions. Usually bans are placed on accounts because of complaints of fraud or theft. We give those banned users the terms of their ban, and how they can remove it, if possible. If they return after the initial ban we generally refund their purchase. If they attempt to circumvent their ban again we do not refund their payment, as is clearly outlined in our terms of service. We won't respond to banned users if they subsequently commit more fraudulent acts on our site, such as entering into a fraudulent contract with us using a fake name.

Brandon why don't you give me your username and I will post your account history for everyone to see why specifically you were banned from using our web site?

Jared Watts - #7 - 2013-01-07 20:36 - (Reply)

So, I was trying to stay out of this and as a herper who could care less about a Stupid "Pet Industry" laundry list of animals lemme just ask. So will USARK continue to support venomous and large constrictor keepers now that Andrew is gone? Since that appears to be the major sticking point between a laundry list of "pet industry" supporters who have realisticly little interst in animals with significance in natural ecology and more significance in supporting the money making abomination that is the pet trade. You can point fingers all you want, I have working politically with Andrew and know his stance, and I also know alot of ball python breeders were willing to make sacrifices to PIJAC and other "pet industry" parties to throw us hot keepers under the bus so that HSUS would drop there attacks. Our own worst enemy is us, to that I ask. DO YOU GUYS SUPPORT PRIVATE LARGE CONSTRICTOR AND VENOMOUS KEEPERS, or will you ostracize us much like USARK did to Andrew for not playing politics and sacrificing us so that you could keep a bunch of ecologically worthless morphs. Easy question, do you support a large amount of the community as a whole, or are you looking for cut outs? So skip the BS about money, and tell us what this is really about, "personal differences".

Bob - #8 - 2013-01-07 20:55 - (Reply)

If there is a confidential agreement then all those questions are just a waste of time and nothing but rumor mill crap.

Jeff Barringer - #9 - 2013-01-07 21:17 - (Reply)

Jared - I am not a member of USARK, I am not a member of PIJAC, so I cannot answer for either organization. I can say that neither organization has ever expressed any real interest in throwing any reptile owners or businesses "under the bus" large constrictors, venomous, or otherwise. . I can say that in the political negotiating process often many things may be placed on the table even though it is not their intention to truly barter them. I will note however that under what I would term "Andrews' Law" in North Carolina, his home state, some of the laws he was responsible for implementing under his previous organization, NCARK, actually criminalized certain aspects of large constrictor and venomous keeping.

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_14/Article_55.html

Walter Kidd knows firsthand the impact Andrew has had on venomous keepers in NC
http://main.aol.com/2011/08/16/man-living-with-154-reptiles_n_928691.html

Then under the USARK umbrella Andrew actually proposed similar regulations across the border in SC, where no regulations had been been proposed.

Bob: A civil non-disclosure agreement has limitations that can easily be penetrated by third parties via lawsuit or by agencies investigating criminal complaints. A NDA's use as a shield is limited. Additionally only the parties of the agreement are subject to the agreement. I am not subject to the agreement. I actually know most of the answers to those questions. I would just like to see them answered and documented, under oath.

Brendan: I have in fact located some of your prior account information and am perfectly willing to discuss your account status here, in public. Your call.

Anonymous - #10 - 2013-01-07 23:02 - (Reply)

I have donated "unfortunately" $1000 in Cages, Racks, Animals and Supplies to MARS and USark Auctions. I drank the cool-aid like many people did thinking USark was helping.

You donating $12K+ to your own company is a joke. I'm sure you took the tax write off for your very generous donation? Then, did you deducted your travel and other expenses with NRAAC?

So you donated to yourself, so you can travel to some nice vacation spots and hang with your friends, talk a little business and deduct it all? Twice?

Why is this any different then Andrew/USark? That's right, we are the ones that made it possible for Andrew to take some nice vacations. You just paid for yours yourself. Clever!

Why don't you post your tax returns for NRAAC?

Any salaries paid out from NRACC? To you?

Just like with USark, the truth will come out. Karma is a bitch!

Now to your threats to post my Kingsnake history:

I was banned from Kingsnake for a "violation of your TOS". I had in my ads that I ship with Reptile Express. I was told this was a violation of your TOS so my ad was removed. When i did a search of the keyword "SYR" and found 100's of ads that said they ship with SYR I responded to the email i received removing my ad. I asked why is it OK for SYR and not RE? Did not get an answer other then surprise! I was banned now. Your easy legal out to remove unwanted user for any reason you decide and that is fine it's your company and you wrote the TOS just so you always have this easy out. I know the real reason. I have never tried to reestablish my account nor do I want to. You refused to post a show listing for the president and CEO of Reptile Palooza. Why? Someone that is not me. That is a real person and has never been a previous Kingsnake user. He is a very close friend of mine. I'm not pretending to be him. He is a very real person. He sent you a email everyday, all unanswered until on the last day he could file a claim. He filed the claim. Within 5 min you told him he was banned because he was a threat. He also sent many email to other employees of Kingsnake. All where answered until you realized it was him trying to get an answer about his show post. I can post the entire email history if that is ok with you?

Jeff Barringer - #11 - 2013-01-07 23:59 - (Reply)

Brandon - perhaps you ought to do your research before asking questions and making statements.

The $12,000.00 payment was made to the event facility I have the receipts in NRAAC's name by kingsnake.com. It was not a "write off" as you suggest, NRAAC is not a non-profit, does not have a bank account, does not solicit donations. Additionally NRAAC pays no salaries to anyone, and no travel expenses to anyone. All those payments were writeoffs only in the nature that they were written off kingsnake.com's bank account. And every dime is accounted for with receipts.

As a private business we are free to decide who we want to sell services too, and under what conditions. It's in the contract you and everyone else agrees too. In your case we decided that we did not want to provide you services.

You lost your access to our services because you were using 1 account to advertise 2 businesses, your cage business and your reptile express business, which we considered theft of service. Additionally you were encouraging others to use their classified advertisements to advertise your service, a violation of our terms of service contract, and had actually built your marketing program around the idea of "free" advertising on kingsnake.com via piggyback. That was never going to happen.

You were given an opportunity to provide us documentation from FedEx and UPS proving that you had their approval to resell shipping services like your competitors like SYR had done so that we could offer you a similar deal as your competitors like SYR, but you failed to do that.

As to "Reptile Palooza" as that is not your account and you are not the account holders legal representative as such I am not in a position to violate that users privacy and discuss that account with you but will gladly discuss it here, in public with the account holder.

Jared Watts - #12 - 2013-01-08 02:27 - (Reply)

Well Jeff, I spent 6 months on a hand selected panel of industry experts here in VA. And Andrew was one of them and you appear to not know alot of the details. Yes, concessions by certain parties were suggested on things like venomous and big constrictors, and Andrew fought them. I am well aware and know Walter, but I dont think the law in NC is awful either. I will say I have worked, in lawmaking and lobbying with Andrew, hands on. Its real easy for those not involved in politics to point fingers at those doing it. I was in the boardroom with the HSUS and Felds lawyers, Andrew, AZA and ZAA heads and know he supported and fought diligently for hot keepers rights. While others were willing to make, sacrifices. So I would like USARK to now step up, DO YOU< KINGSNAKE, OR PIJAC SUPPORT A LARGE NUMBER OF VENOMOUS PRIVATE KEEPERS IN THIS COMMUNITY. And I know 100% many BP and boa keepers here in state tried to make cut outs for just those species( as a delegate and couple senators offered to work with that, which we said was a no go)
. Enemys within our own ranks

Kevin McCurley - #13 - 2013-01-08 07:44 - (Reply)

I agree that we NEED TO KNOW who is planning to include the broad scope of Herps in their fight? I feel that is is also very important to fight for Venomous, Large Constrictors, Crocodilians, Monitors and even Arachnids/Inverts. And when I say FIGHT I mean Fight, not we just "support" or we don't "exclude" these groups. That kind of tepid response is not what many keepers want to hear! I would really like to know did Andrew feel/know that USARK was willing to give up some of these to save others? I have been hearing rumors that Herp Alliance will FIGHT for these groups, does that mean that USARK did not? I do not think that any organization set up to fight for us can expect FULL support from the overall community with "select a cute pet species" and we will fight for that one. We need some clarity here, what are the differences from USARK and Herp Alliance? There need to be some very strong contradictions for both to exist and be effective. What are they? I know USARK has had its issues and they will refine themselves and improve, this I expect. I think as a community that we will have to improve our support to whoever rises to the top and wins favor.

So, a question, What are the proposed differences between Herp Alliance and USARK? Which one is the complete package? Division only may weaken our voice.

Kevin @ NERD

Jeff Barringer - #14 - 2013-01-08 08:03 - (Reply)

As I stated before I am not a member or officer for either USARK of the PIJAC organization so I cannot offer you their thoughts, I can only offer my thoughts and suggestions on the matter.

Yes Andrew sure appears to "talk" a good game, sometimes, when he shows up, but in the end it's the results that matter. Before Andrew's rise it was legal to keep ship and sell Burmese pythons, across state lines, and in most states, now it is not. Combating USFWs Big 9 was the primary purpose and reason for forming USARK in the first place. I know that USARK didn't even bother to show up when Texas restricted venomous snakes, large constrictors, road collecting, and implemented the white and black list. The only reason Andrew has ever come to Texas was to - raise money as far as I can tell.

As to USARK and PIJACs support, neither have expressed to me any desire to drop support of venomous or large constrictors. Technically a pet is traditionally considered a companion animal, and it would be hard to consider venomous species a pet that meets the definition, by that I would expect PIJAC, which is a PET lobbying organization to offer only limited support. But to my knowledge they have not limited that support.

My own personal opinion is that the keepers in the state and the state should decide which rules and regulations are right for their constituents and circumstance, I don't want to see any species banned, but I also would like to limit the number of cobras escaping into apartment complexes, so I think that in some cases
regulation and permitting should be required. But I'm not going to come to your state and tell you how you should write your laws. That should be between you and your regulators.


As far as kingsnake.com, we have always, and will always support the venomous keeper, as well as big snake owners and always have and that should be relatively obvious by the fact that not only did we have the first venomous forum, the first venomous classifieds, the first boa, burmese python and reticulated python classifieds and forums, and in fact despite all the changes in laws over the last 15 years all of those things still exist on our site.

NRAAC too, though not a lobbying organization, includes the venomous keeper and the large constrictors. The majority of the 2012 event focused around the constrictor issue, and though venomous was initially on the schedule the only agencies we found that restricted/wanted to restrict them were state agencies. Texas and Florida both sent representatives, but I don't think venomous was discussed much simply because no one there had any pending issues, though we have venomous keepers like Doug Hotle and Tim Cole there should the conversations steer that way.

In the end it's results that matter, and in the end Andrew Wyatts strategy, tactics, and over a million dollars, not only couldn't save Burmese pythons from the feds, he could even prevent an animal that's sole existence is a single specimen in a pickle jar from being banned as injurious.

Andrew has had 5 seasons, and at the end of that his record is 0 wins, 5 losses, and 4 in limbo on the primary purpose for which the organization was formed - 0-5-4

Not many coaches get to continue next season with stats like that.

Captain Chin Cone - #15 - 2013-01-08 09:40 - (Reply)

Kevin, on another forum Chen-Walsh told you that Andrew did not allude to propose or apparently even THINK about proposing the NC Legislation (USARK's BMPs) anywhere else - even in South Carolina.

Read this link and then tell me what you think:

http://www.jaxherp.com/usark-update11-8-09.html

Wyatt's testimony on HR2811.

Scroll down to the part that reads:

"For example, last year legislation was passed in NC with the support of the NC Partners in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation to regulate the ownership and use of large constricting snakes. Similar legislation exists in the states of Texas and Florida, for reference. These measures insure that safe, secure, professional best management practices are observed to legally work with these animals. USARK is also currently working in VA and SC to introduce similar legislation in 2010. These best management practices embodied in existing state legislation could easily be adapted to a national USARK accreditation process insuring uniformity and professionalism across the country."

Regardless of whether or not you believe in this type of legislation, what do you think of Wyatt's vehement "no" to your questions?

Dan Brown - #16 - 2013-01-08 10:59 - (Reply)

Im not going to comment on Andrew , because I do not know all of the facts. It seems like knowbody knows all of the facts. My biggest problem is why do we have a bunch of armchair quaterbacks now ? It doesnt matter if USARK wasnt fully successful or not. I know that PIJAC is involved as well , but when we our limited in our choices to have a lobby represent us , then USARK was an obvious choice. What am I missing ? I am under the opinion that more snakes and reptiles would be banned if it werent for USARK. I am all for improvement. Lets move on

Jeff Barringer - #17 - 2013-01-08 12:13 - (Reply)

Dan I think there have always been armchair quarterbacks but under Andrew's reign anyone asking any form of question, criticism or dissent regarding policies procedures money and strategy of Andrew Wyatt/USARK, were liable to get you labeled by the organization as being "divisive" and added to their enemies list. It's not surprising at how many or who is stepping forward in the community to let there true feelings be known without being suppressed.

I too think it is time to move on, but I think the concerns and issues raised by the armchair quarterbacks need to be addressed and some if not all resolved so that we can. After all most of those quarterbacks are either USARK members, contributors,supporters or holdouts, and the last thing anyone should be doing is trying to suppress anyone's opinion. Thats' pretty much how we got where we are today.

Dan Brown - #18 - 2013-01-08 15:04 - (Reply)

I wasnt aware or part of an enemies list, and if accurate , its a shame. I guess its a good thing that he moved on. Lets just hope that we can all keep our boas (and all herps !) I love a good format such as this to air it out ! Thanks

Kevin McCurley - #19 - 2013-01-08 16:38 - (Reply)

Yes....... this is what I was talking about.

Thanks you for that pointer. "No" appears to mean something else....

I must be confused......... or something?

Hmmmmmmm...... and I DON'T like those REGS one bit!! Criminal consequence for having a Pet snake? A baby one no less...just the species..... scaring someone with it. Ugghhhhhh........ Open for interpretation....

Captain Chin Cone - #20 - 2013-01-08 20:17 - (Reply)

PIJAC mentions BMPs and the world is coming to an end.

Wyatt proposes them as a nationwide model and he's God's gift to ectotherms.

Go figure.

SGT Breen USMC - #21 - 2013-01-09 09:01 - (Reply)

Please try to remember folks that we are a small hobby and that everybody here loves reptiles and amphibians. We cannot afford to become enemies and create hard feelings that will prevent us from working together to ensure that we implement good rules and regulations that show the public that we are responsible individuals.

As far as which group is bad and which is good or which group doesn't do anything is nothing more than showing those in charge that there is a good number of us out there. We simply need to focus on getting everyone to show up at these events like (NRAAC) which show the folks in charge of creating laws that we are a proactive group and take responsibility.

P.S. I'm glad to see the passion on this matter; it gives me hope that we won't lose this fight.

rodney boalich - #22 - 2013-01-09 09:38 - (Reply)

i think its important for everyone to realize that usarks model legislation was written by andrew wyatt before usark was formed. andrew wyatt took his model legislation with him to usark. and erika is lying about wyatt not pushing his model legislation in other states than ohio. in fact wyatt pushing his model legislation in PA is what started my war with usark. in 2011 wyatt claimed to have stopped PA senator alloway from purposing anti reptile legislation. that is not true. alloways office read me the letter they got from wyatt not usark directly from wyatt. stating that wyatt had heard that alloway was thinking about adding big snakes to his anti croc legislation and wyatt didnt think that a ban was necessary and he would be more then happy to come to PA and help write some good legislation to regulate reptiles in PA. and he did this without first contacting any reptile breeders in the state. i also found out that wyatt had also contacted PA senator kasunic to push for regulations for large constrictors. erika is also lying about what happened in SC with there anti exotics bill. that reptile part was almost word for word wyatts model legislation. i talked to i believe it was the director at SC dnr and he flat out told me that the bill couldnt pass. namely because wyatt tried to get reptile exempt and they added regulations to a bill that would ban all exotics. SC dnr told me you cant have a bill that bans exotics and then in the same bill leave a bunch of them out. so wyatt actually accidentally stopped that bill when he tried to sell out the rest of the exotic keepers in SC. another important thing to look at is SC, PA and all the other states that wyatt sent out an email saying that they would have anti reptile legislation popping up in 2012. now with PA and SC i know for a fact wyatt had been contacting those states talking about setting up regulations. SC tried to use he model legislation in a bill. iv caught wyatt multiple times lying about legislation in PA. all wyatt does is push for regulations and or wait til a bill is dead to go in and get thing moving again ( KIND OF LIKE HR511 ). this way he can have two victories. one being that as long as bills are on the move he can ask for donations to "stop" them. and two when the bill hes fighting is already dead he knows he cant lose that fight, so it makes him look victorious. and then can ask for even more donations. andrew wyatt is a scam artist plain and simple. he relies on everyone's lack of understanding of the legislative process to scare money out of them. the funniest thing about whats going on is now wyatt basically is saying all the things about usark that iv been saying publicly for the last year and a half. wyatts smart enough to realize that people want usark to be what wyatt told everyone it was and is now looking to capitalize on everyone's discontent. it is very important that everyone understand this fact im about to tell you. until a few days ago andrew wyatt was usark. the usark board tried to fire wyatt at tinley park but they found out that they had no real power becasue usark is owned by wyatt. wyatt made the rules and ran the organization the way he wanted i.e. the way that was most profitable to him. andrew wyatt likes to compare how little money usark spends salaries compared to hsus. he likes to compare that number to hsus's ceo wyane pacelle income of $250,000 a year. heres the thing wyatts leaving out. wyatts the only person getting pair at usark. and he takes the maximum amount he can. look at usark financial records you will see each year usark made a little more and each year wyatt took a little more. also to compare % of what wyatts taking to pacelle. pacelle takes 1/4 of 1% of hsus's annual income. wyatt takes 20% of usarks annual income. in terms of %'s wyatt is a much bigger scam artist then wyane pacelle. i dont think anybody has spoken out against wyatt more then i have. and i really thought since everything has come to light that wyatt would finally lose all support and would just fade away. andrew wyatt is in the BUSINESS of fighting anti reptile legislation. without it wyatt doesnt make money. things like the python ban and other federal level legislation makes him the most money because it affects everyone. people please understand wyatt pushes for anti reptile legislation becasue it puts cash in his pockets. as long as wyatts around the reptile industry will be under a much greater threat from both federal and state level legislation. i do not yet support usark. and i will not support usark until they do something about PAARk. which is the organization wyatt secretly set up in my sate to get back at me. and also i will not support usark until they help clean up the mess that both usark and pijac caused in ohio. but please people do not support wyatts new organization. he has compromised away enough of our rights. just at the hr511 hearing behind closed doors he tried to sell out all the importers. its right there in his written testimony. look into these issues and start talking about them. the easiest way to defeat people like andrew wyatt is to tell the truth.

Dan Brown - #23 - 2013-01-09 10:40 - (Reply)

Rodney , I respect your opinion, but it is only an opinion. I am not defending Wyatt and you may be 100% correct. I will defend the right to get a salary for working. Why would he work for free ?? I would still say that boas and other herps would be banned already if not for USARKS efforts. I need proof to believe otherwise. You may have valid points and may not like certain legislation, but what have you and others done to fight against HSUS. No harm intended here , but it seems everyone is complaining , but offer little as far as solutions.

William Taylor - #24 - 2013-01-09 15:27 - (Reply)

A lobbying group for reptiles can take a big tent stance and defend all keepers rights or it can view some as expendable. If USARKS decides protecting Ball Python and such are the end all and be all and the rest are expendable, it will have no support from me. I do not know Andrew very well, but as part of the lobbying effort in Va.I will say Jared is correct, Andrew was helpful in preventing concessions that turned out did not need to be made.
I can tell you one thing, if USARK or any other group does not think that every segment of horticulture deserves the same whole heart defense....then it does not deserve our support. As it stands, I am very suspicious of the direction USARK will now take.

rodney boalich - #25 - 2013-01-10 07:35 - (Reply)

everything i said is true. feel free to call PA senator alloway and ask them to read you the letter from wyatt. i tried to get that letter through public records request. but by law they didnt have to hand it over. as for the money wyatt makes and that stuff. well thats just math. if you can add and subtract you will see its not just my opinion. what wyatt did with the whole hr511 and him trying to sell out importers just simply ead his testimony. ask wyatt if he wrote usarks model legislation. he use to brag about it becasue it works so well. thats why a part of NC is facing a constrictor ban right now. call PAARK and ask them about me. if theres any specific issue in my post you would like me to go into detail about please let me know. but when i say things like wyatt took 20% of usarks money thats not opinion. its posted in their financial statements.

Dan Brown - #26 - 2013-01-10 12:18 - (Reply)

I will say that USARK is definately on our side. They will continue to fight for ALL herps. The pythons and other large snakes are the easy targets for the politicians and animal wackos. I believe a group should rule USARK and not ant one individual. I believe that is the direction of USARK. The best way to become less suspicious is to contact board members and follow USARK as they release their new business model.

Adam Ortega - #27 - 2013-01-11 19:09 - (Reply)

To Jeff,I am attending a leadership council meeting on the 26th of January in Matica CA. I would love to use your blog in a presentation in whole or in part. It really makes one wonder, and had some very powerful questions that should be brought up to any organization that you may want to join or support. Thanks for your time Adam.


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