follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on YouTube link to us on LinkedIn
 
click here for Reptile SuperShow
This Space Available
3 months for $50.00
Locate a business by name: click to list your business
search the classifieds. buy an account
events by zip code list an event
Search the forums             Search in:
News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Iguana . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Rattlesnake Friday . . . . . . . . . .  Greater Cincinnati Herp Society Meeting - Jan. 03, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  Calusa Herp Society Meeting - Jan. 04, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  Reptile Super Show Los Angeles - Jan. 06-07, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiDay Fort Lauderdale - Jan. 06, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Atlanta - Jan. 06-07, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  Jacksonville Herp Society Meeting - Jan. 06, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Raleigh - Jan. 13-14, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Dallas - Jan. 13-14, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  All Maryland Reptile Show - Jan. 13, 2018 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Birmingham - Jan. 20-21, 2018 . . . . . . . . . . 

Reptile & Amphibian
News Blog
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.

United States Association of Reptile Keepers

Does United Way think reptiles and their owners are sex offenders?

By Jeff Barringer
Wed, June 13 2012 at 14:09

Comments
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)

Jeff Barringer - #1 - 2012-06-13 23:22 -

To "Common Sense" - your welcome to participate here and post your opinion as long as you give the common courtesy of using your real name and not post anonymously.

Bob Sampson - #2 - 2012-06-14 14:10 -

Jeff,
Kind of an ironic post and reply when your own employee Cindy has been involved with the HSUS in Milwaukee as well as MADAC. A lot of rumors are going around the industry about her and where she really stands. Her associate Chris Law has also been involved with animal rights groups and is known for going around preaching against our hobby. Time to wake up Jeff! Like the guy at the tinley summit for burn initiative said, a reptile rescue typically means a keeper on a budget.... With extreme views and life problems.....that statement was pointed at Cindy and everyone knew it........

Daniel Heflick - #3 - 2012-06-14 15:45 -

Outsider looking in disclaimer: I do not, have not, nor have any intentions to own a reptile. I had a few pet mice as a child, and one hamster, but I was certainly never a serious owner of one.

That being said, isn't this article being a tad ridiculous? Obviously the choice of animals was about finding predators. Rats, admittedly, fit the role of prey more than predator, but a snake is most certainly a predator.

I highly doubt this ad is an attempt to defame snakes, rats, or their owners. It is simply using a metaphor that many people can identify with. If you think that it is being implied that reptile owners are sex offenders by this ad, I'd honestly have to question your objective assessment abilities.

It sounds like you're just taking this kind of personal. My two cents. Take it for what it's worth.

James Smith - #4 - 2012-06-14 20:36 -

I own both reptiles and snakes (yes, my name really is James Smith, by the way.)While I'm normally the first to spot a slight at the herp hobby--what can I say, I take offense easily--I tend to agree with Mr. Heflick. This strikes me as a case of United Way using an image most people immediately "get", even if it irks those of us who are snake-lovers a bit. I doubt this has anything to do with the Burmese python controversy, and the choice of snake was probably more due to a "safe" animal needed to pose with the model for the artist than any comment about the Florida situation. I'd understand the problem if the ad displayed a creepy-looking man holding a snake or iguana and harrassing a young girl, but I don't see how these posters comment on herpers, even if we don't like seeing our critters being used as the stand-in for evil behavior in humans.

Anonymous - #5 - 2012-06-14 20:39 -

Sorry, that should say "reptiles and rats". I did pass elementary school biology--I know snakes are reptiles!

Cindy Steinle - #6 - 2012-06-15 09:49 -

Bob,

I am unaware of who you are, but if you can find ANYTHING that ties me to HSUS I would be impressed. I have been a vocal opponent locally and on a national stage of the organization for their stance on reptiles as well as their stance on Pit Bulls. I have not worked with MADACC and their reptiles in over 2 years and the result has been that the reptiles have died. I run a rescue that actually takes in animals and places them in homes. To me a rescue is a person that deals with animals in need of homes rehabilitates them and then places them in adoptive homes.

I am an animal welfare advocate and not an animal rights advocate. Learn the difference. BTW If you are interested in learning more about my rescue, please feel free (since it sounds as if you are local) to pop by Petco Southridge on June 23 for their rescue adoption event. I will be happy to address your concerns in person.

Jeff Barringer - #7 - 2012-06-15 10:12 -

I think that you would be hard pressed to prove a single one of your allegations. Luckily your not a journalist that has to worry about such things as facts leaving you free to sling mud as you wish.

To imply that she or Chris Law have any connection to HSUS or animal rights groups is laughable to say the least.

Reptile rescues play an important role in our community and without them our community and industry would look like money grabbing schmucks whose only interest is emptying peoples pockets.

And "Bob" why don't man up, grow up, and grow a set and use your real name. If your going to defame people you should at least take ownership of your comments so that the people you deal with know who you really are and your real feelings about the reptile rescue movement.

Bob Sampson - #8 - 2012-06-15 12:02 -

Cindy,
Are you sure you want to make that challenge on the HSUS connection? You know you have worked with them I'm the past. Your previous connection with MADAC paints the picture very clearly. People the lead vetrinarian of MADAC has went on animal planet NPR etc to proclaim that anyone with more than 30 snakes is an animal hoarder! Cindy has worked with this woman In the past and she only stopped working with this organization because they did not believe she had the ability to keep many of the animals she was trying to take in ( I agree, she has no place keeping crocs or large monitors, due to lack of ability, training and financial backing) Cindy wants the animals for identity and attention. She is also known for going into pet stores and people's collections and threatening them over small husbandry errors etc. she even had a pet store owner thrown in jail over this. She is a true wolf in sheeps clothing with many life problems and like most Internet moderators she is full of opinions but has no experience. In one convo to somebody she will diss morphs and captive breeding, only to walk over after and kiss some breeders ass trying to get a free snake or see if she can get a picture with Kerry King. Just pathetic.

As far as your defense of Chris Law goes, I would be very careful here Jeff. Two Daytonas ago in front of multiple croc professionals both private and public sector, Chris proclaimed that anyone north of Florida keeping crocodilians was committing "animal cruelty" and should be stopped. Tell that to people at Reptile Gardens or some of the zoos in Europe and Russia who have made incredible accomplishments in the world of crocs. But the fact that some extremist dimwit like Chris feels like he can go around and defaace the work of people like Jim Nessi is just simply sickening. He goes to shows like tinley and Daytona and tells people how sick the ball pythons make him and how he wishes he could stop it all. He will be stopped and exposed and already has a bad reputation at shows.

This circle also includes Winston Card. Look at Deans recent exposé of him and his write up of how people like Cindy and Chris think and operate. Very disgusting.

http://www.capefearserpentarium.com/DannySteele.pdf

Jeff please hire a real journalist who is actually connected to our world like Robyn from PE. The reptile report is doing the job your blog should be doing for our community. Not spreading animal rights bs while making money off of real breeders and hobbyist who do this for the right reasons...unlike Cindy. The only thing I can compliment you on is for having the balls to allow this convo to take place. We can discuss this in person at Daytona more if you would like.

Chris Law - #9 - 2012-06-15 12:36 -

"Bob Sampson",

What a joke. Two Daytona's ago, I was yes discussing crocodilians in captivity, but in no way made the statement that you're claiming I did. The fact that crocodilians in private and "casual" hands 9/10 times often do not fare well and end up in a lake or pond or someone's rescue as a dumped responsibility is not debatable. I'm not the only one up here that gets stuck with a bunch of wayward alligators because some quick-to-make-a-buck dealer decided that they wanted to offload a bunch of alligators at a ridiculous price without ever so much as questioning the intentions or capability of the purchaser, has decided to put into the herp trade. I do NOT oppose sale of crocodilians, so long as they are by professionals and the purchaser is well screened and they can see that they have a plan for the animal(s) for education/conservation, or if they are intended to be kept properly, I'd like to know that they have the facilities to house an adult specimen RIGHT THEN, at the time of purchase aren't attempting to keep it in an apartment or dorm room or something equally ludicrous. The fact that the herp community has failed to regulate itself is not my fault and nor will I back down from making my position on the topic well known. I'll state in in open perfect english for you and everyone else to read...

IF you want to keep a "pet" crocodilian, you should research the species that you are planning to keep thoroughly. You should have the facilities that will be necessary to house the animal as an adult ALREADY before you make your purchase so there's no "Ooops, it grew too fast and now I can't keep it."

Dealers do not need to be people who can't house an adult specimen and have never had to keep an adult specimen. Facilities in the SE U.S. are better equipped to house them year-round outdoors and thus can offer potential purchasers the ability to see an adult specimen and understand their husbandry much better. VERY FEW private hobbyists that keep alligators have ever kept that animal to adulthood. That's not to say that they have done something irresponsible such as dumping it, etc. But nevertheless, they did get over their head. It's not the same thing as keeping a Burmese python. Crocodilians do require much more complex husbandry than they are often thought. However, to say that I don't want ANYONE to be able to buy them is false entirely. I do not condone the casual acquisition and I would prefer those who purchase them to be fully prepared to care for them all the way through adulthood...and PROPERLY. I don't mind educational facilities that need a 2-4ft alligator or something for educational purposes who swap out for smaller ones when they outgrow their size needs. But anyone else is only contributing to a problem if they don't educate themselves properly and the dealer makes no attempt to educate them.

Chris

Bob Sampson - #10 - 2012-06-15 12:41 -

Chris, you an an animal rights extremist and you know it. You did a good job at avoiding the acquisitions there. In that convo that many heard you said professional facilities north of Florida should not have these animals. You are a fool and an egomaniac with no business keeping these animals. Just another guy with no money or experience barking at everyone for attention.

Eugene Westbrook II - #11 - 2012-06-15 13:57 -

Bob, I've never met Chris in person, but I've known him in an online sense for several years. Never once have I witnessed Chris lie, mislead, misrepresent, or deny making a statement that he's made.
In regards to the statements that you claim Chris made, which if I understand the time frame correctly was a year and a half or two years ago, do you have a video or audio recording? Are you working from memory? Are you working from notes that you took? Id like to see one of any that I have mentioned. These are not rhetorical questions. Please respond and present any evidence that you have to back the claims that you are making. If you are unable to do so, they don't add up to anything more than meaningless typing on the net.
As far as being an Animal Rights Extremist, what leads you to believe that? Can back that up with specific actions? Or at least state what your definition of one is? Whithout you backing your claim all you have is a belief. And everyone is entitled to a belief. But at this point it's not even an opinion because you haven't explained how you came to that assumption.
Again, I'm not asking rhetorical questions here. I would appreciate you answering them because it would really change my opinion of Chris Law, his morals, his character, and his stance on reptiles rights if you do this. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Eugene Westbrook II

Bob Sampson - #12 - 2012-06-15 14:22 -

Eugene,
Have you listened to his radio interviews or listened to his website? Or checked his own website for information? Like Winston, you will see Chris over and over refer to these animals as "dangerous" and " difficult to keep. Trust me if large constrictors presented that big of risk or difficulty in keeping they would have never reached their level of popularity that they did. You will also notice in his own write up about himself that he loves "all things predator" and tries to build himself up as a croc professional. He has little experience keeping anything of significance and is not a member of any serious crocodile groups like the CSG or CAG. Nor will he ever be.

The reason Chris does not work at a professional instituition is because after people like Winston have made the zoo industry look like fools they are very apprehensive about letting kooks like Chris work for them. He has a typical tough bro attitude who over exaggerates constantly and tries to make himself look like a hero while whoring for free animals.

One thing you really have to take into consideration with these wanna be rescuer types is the fact that this big "problem" they claim to exist is really not a problem at all. If anyone were to call strictly reptiles, glades herp or any other dealer and tell them they need to get rid of a large sulcata, alligator of any size, or a Burmese python they would take it off their hands any time. Also anyone at a reptile show would be happy to help with relocation of these animals without question. These situations rarely come up but when they do the community always helps the person out. The few dealers that do sell baby American alligators have a policy that you can send back a baby when it gets too big in exchange for another baby if you would like. But if you were to listen to a wanna be hero like Chris you would be led to believe this type of thing happens daily. He is delusional and suffers from a personality disorder. If you were to meet him in person you would see how rude and genuinely extremist he is. They constantly try to call people greedy for trying to make a living in this hobby that we all worked so hard to build while begging for a job and free animals.

Cindy Steinle - #13 - 2012-06-15 15:02 -

Bob.

Please please prove I work with a female veterinarian! I have not worked with MADACC as a reptile rescuer since they cut off ALL rescues after the Terry Cullen situation. I know the vet you referring to, and I wonder, how exactly you can connect me other than disputing her words in the numerous news stories, again after the Terry Cullen raid. MECA and Dr. Marla Lichtenberger. Her anti reptile statements were made again after the Terry Cullen situation. Unfortunately,*MY* vet is in brookfield.

I certainly do not know what sort of proof you claim to have, but in regards to Morphs. Own several. In regards to Crocodilians and Monitors, nope dont keep them. There is this WHOLE little thing called a law. Crocodilians and Monitors are illegal in Milwaukee. That is again something that was made very public in the Terry Cullen situation. I have only removed animals from one pet store in all my days and have never threatened to remove all the animals from ANY pet store. I assisted countryside humane society on an illegal animal ownership raid several years ago, controlled the press to a very few local stories and GEE it never hit major news outlets. Now if I were AR, this would be PROOF I am not doing my job properly as my rescue took in over 100 animals.

Really? I am animal rights because I am not a fan of morphs. OK> Let's get better proof.

I wonder however why all these situations that you use as proof relates back to the one local herper who got in a bit of trouble.

Also I am interested, could you please show me what I publish here on kingsnake.com that is animal rights message in any shape or form?

Also who is winston card and can you again provide proof? I have no clue who that is.

Jeff Barringer - #14 - 2012-06-15 15:04 -

This thread truly would be funny if it wasn't so sad...

The only irony of this situation is that Milwaukee has chosen reptiles to highlight the dangers of sexual predators, when to my knowledge they are the only city in the U.S. that currently has outstanding criminal charges against a reptile keeper, Terry Cullen, for being a sexual predator, which has brought discredit and disfavour to the reptile community.

Chris Law - #15 - 2012-06-15 15:23 -

“Bob”,

This is all too entertaining, but I absolutely love how you’re twisting my opinions and thoughts around to fit your position. The fact that I dislike the casual acquisition of crocodilians is not unknown. I’ve never hid from that position…and me making such comments would be a bit counterproductive if I was working for HSUS. I’m not the only herper to take a position towards wanting people to be more responsible.
I have never claimed to work for any large facilities, nor be affiliated with CSG or CAG. Yes, I do make my positions very well-known and that will never change. Obviously, if I’ve done talks on radio shows or you’ve seen my website…then it’s not exactly like I’m hiding anything.
Yes, the ball python market drives me nuts. Why? Because there are far more amazing reptiles that people could be keeping that don’t require to be bred for morphs. I’m not opposed to making a living doing what you love, but if you’re doing it in such a way that in my opinion is immoral or irresponsible, then you have my thoughts on that. Quite obviously, you have a distaste for those opinions…and you’re perfectly entitled to. Hell, I really don’t care if people want to breed morphs and if people want to pay the ridiculous prices for them. If you want to take out a second mortgage on your home to buy a snake…hell if I care. I just wish that the trade in morphs hadn’t expanded on such an exponential level that other species largely are ignored.
I have NEVER said that crocodilians should not be kept privately. Period. I have never made that statement. I have only said that if you’re going to keep them privately, that you have a lot of research and financial backing that will be necessary to accommodate this animal properly. Some more than others. Those who attempt to keep them in the northern climates, will need to put forth a lot more money and effort to keeping the animal happy and healthy as they don’t have favorable conditions to house them outdoors year ‘round. Zoological facilities (AZA, ZAA) typically have more money to build a suitable indoor enclosure for them that will suit them. Therefore, why would that be an issue? You cited facilities in Russia and Europe…again, I realize the contributions to conservation and education that they have made but my statement nowhere applies to them. They can provide for the animal.

Is having a passion for predator species a crime? If so, I need to be pointed to the law on that. Yes, I tend to be more fascinated with predator species than I am…say…equine. That does not mean I have anything against any species that don’t fit the profile of a predator . On an evolutionary scale…they intrigue me far more than anything else. I have never made the statement that the herp community owes me anything. And while some of the bigger breeders MIGHT take back an animal because it got too big for people to keep, most of these are…you guessed it, down in Florida or Louisiana where most of the gator farms are. And the price of shipping this 3-4ft animal back to the original breeder far outweighs the cost that they paid for it in the first place. If they want to get a new baby because the previous one outgrew their ability to keep it, it’s much more simple and cost effective to hand it over to a rescue as their responsibility and just spend 50-75 bucks on a new baby. Don’t get me wrong, from a business stand-point, I totally understand why the dealer would require that the owner pay the shipping cost. I totally get it. But that doesn’t change the realism of the situation. Rescue facilities aren’t the only places to get a bunch of gator calls, if that was so simple. Zoos get tons of them as well. Ask Rob Carmichael of the Wildlife Discovery Center how many he gets. Ask Doug Hotle of ABQ how many he gets. Downplaying the situation doesn’t mean it’s accurate info. If the herp community pulled together more and developed a better system for replacing and rehoming them…there really wouldn’t be an issue. There also wouldn’t be as many getting on the news and making a bad name for herp keepers. And as far as all of this BS about me being an AR extremist…I could sit here all day and explain the error of that statement, but in the end…your mind is set. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be on here making such accusations. I have no idea who you are (although, outside of the screen name I’m sure I would), but in the end…I don’t owe you a thing…and that includes explanations.

Chris

Eugene Westbrook II - #16 - 2012-06-15 15:26 -

Bob,

You didn't answer one of my questions from my post. Infact you responed to my questions with questions of your own and you merely restated your beliefs about Chris Law. Would you please answer my questions?

I concider alligators and crocs to be potentially dangerous animals. Number one, they are capable of killing or maiming. Number two they are unpredictable. Even seasoned veterans have been killed and maimed. Number three, I concider them difficult too keep also. First off their size potential alone is a difficulty. You need land. You also have the cost of keeping them fed, permits, vet visits, housing, liablity insurance, and I'm probably not thinking of every expense.
The "tough guy", "hero wanna be" that you describe is the polar opposite of the Chris Law that I have gotten to know over close to three years online.
For a forth time, would you please respond by answering the questions that I have asked of you in my previous post? If you can't or will not respond to them, it makes your posts appear to be nothing but a rant and you to appear a person uninterested in facts.
It also stuck me as odd that you chose to post about these two people under comments that were meant to be about the United Ways ad campaign.

Bob Sampson - #17 - 2012-06-15 16:10 -

Eugene,
What specific questions are you referring to. Chris law openly states he is against the ball python trade and the free and open market of reptiles. He wants to push for legislation. He over exaggerates the danger of constrictors, large snakes and venomous. I don't owe him or you any explanations. As a constituitionalist and libertarian I don't see keeping reptiles or any other hobby or interest as a "priveledge not a right" whatsoever and a majority of people in this hobby are on my side. Preventative laws and this UN agenda 21 ecofascist bs that these extremists put out are the ultimate enemy and us real keepers are not going to stand by and let these "welfare" kooks take everything we love. The ends always justify the means with them and they think we have to apologize and convince the general public that we aren't a bunch of tattooed freaks or whatever. To hell with that. Chris goes on and on about how terrible this community is and it just makes me sick. And he acts like nobody is doing anything but balls what a joke. Have you ever been on Morelia Pythons forums you retard? It's a huge community of python enthusiasts that breed nearly every species of python out there. And across the spectrum people are keeping, breeding and educating more than ever in this hobby every show I go to there are educational tables alongside many different types of breeders. This website is a testament to this. But of course like you said on your radio interview " an amazon.com type of reptile site really concerns you. I bet it does.....if only you could make things to we're you could keep them and others couldn't. Then you could live out your life like Winston lecturing others on the dangers of these horrible predators that only you can properly keep safely. And you want to cut people down for focusing on one of the most tame,easy to manage and overall awesome species there is? What a hypocrite and total moron just parroting others like yourself. I love this hobby and am so proud of what we have accomplished as breeders and keepers. I don't even wanna know what kind of 1984 creepy scenario you think we should live in but it must be dismall at best. Like Bob Clark said when this all started coming down, we haven't had any regulation for the last 200+ years in this country and just because of media sensationalism we sure as hell don't need any now. Chris will go on about the Burmese situation but has no idea what he is talking about. Read a real paper on the issue from the barkers and maybe you will get a clue.
http://vpi.com/sites/default/files/Barker_Burmese-MammalDeclineENP_BCHS47-4.pdf

Cindy, I did not say that she was your vet I said you were affiliated with MADAC and in turn Maria. When I heard this I was stunned that somebody held it such high esteem could be working with an organization like that who is affiliated with the HSUS it just made me ill. I don't have an opinion on the Cullen situation until more info comes out but I do know he has a good reputation and many are still in support of him including the CSG (most elite group of croc professionals In the world....period....)they even had a supportive interview of him on reptile radio. But it seems like you have your mind made up on it, which shouldn't surprise us when after all you were part the organization that went after him! Tell us more about the pet store raid you orchestrated Cheers!

Varanid - #18 - 2012-06-15 16:41 -

Who the hell wouldn't be against people casually acquiring an animal without knowing about it, and what it requires? particularly things like crocs, which yes, ARE difficult to keep! They require a metric ton of space, a lot of food, and pose a fairly significant personal risk. They're not like keeping a boa constrictor. The fact that you consider someone stating that casually getting a croc to be equivalent to supporting the HSUS is pretty jacked up.

Bob sampson - #19 - 2012-06-15 16:47 -

Show me where I said that? Nice way to take multiple long statements and translate them into a simple statement that fits your agenda.

Bob Sampson - #20 - 2012-06-15 16:53 -

Eugene,
I was just informed via phone that going back and forth with you is probably not a good idea. Apparently you were banned from the prominent green tree python forums for bad behavior and ethics. I guess you weren't really known for your good reputation over there? Sounds like your judgement of character isn't really worth much?

Eugene Westbrook II - #21 - 2012-06-15 17:39 -

The specific questions that I asked you to answer are in black and white. You have to read and then be able to comprehend what it is that you have read. You obviously don't intended on answering them and never did which is why you've chosen to ignore them. Basically all that you've said here is your opinion and beliefs with no factual back up. That has no weight what so ever with anyone with the intelligence of third grader or higher.
We aren't "going back and forth", or at least I haven't been. I thought we were having a discussion. But you haven't addressed any of my questions, so it's not a discussion or a debate because you've made it that.
You must be referring to Morelia Virisis Forum. I'd ask you, but you don't answer any questions that I ask. I'm still on that forum, posting as wwwrealdeckcom. Greg, the moderator of the forum, apoligized for banning me. I sign my first name in every post I make. And yes, I was banned for about one week for using a vid of a woman's bouncing breasts as my avatar. Is that bad behavior? Maybe, but i think breasts good, and a womans ass even better. I'd ask you how that effects my ethics in what we are discussing, but you wouldn't answer me anyways.
Wow, you really outed me.

Bob Sampson - #22 - 2012-06-15 17:43 -

LOL. Ok then. I don't see what I didn't answer. How can you as a breeder see eye to eye with his extremist views? Have you listened to his interviews?

Eugene Westbrook II - #23 - 2012-06-15 18:21 -

Re read my posts, highlight any and all questions that I've asked And then answer them in your post.

Israel Dupont - #24 - 2012-06-15 22:31 -

Mr. Sampson:
I’m compelled to reach out to you after reading some of these posts to address a subject of this discussion: Christopher Law and his purported comments about the herp trade. Many in the herp community no doubt read the Kingsnake.com fora, in addition to members of the general public who may access this forum thread and may be inclined to take your words at face value, so I feel that I must answer some of the accusations you’ve made.
Chris Law is a very close friend and associate of mine and my relationship to him doesn’t color my observations of matters of fact about him. This young man is not a braggart, and not bragged in his own defense on this thread – so I’ll happily do it for him.
Firstly, Chris has spent a great deal of his time in the last few years caring for multiple ailing family members, a full-time job, while simultaneously working for living, while simultaneously offering his services free of charge in the fields of herpetological education, both in person and via the Internet, while simultaneously rescuing/placing reptiles throughout Ohio and even across North America. I had the privilege of launching a semi-formal crocodilian rescue/placement service with Chris, Croc Rescue Network, in 2007, which has through its conscientious participants place dozens of crocodilians of various sizes from various situations in various states, to responsible, vetted receivers of these animals. The main goal of CRN is based on what’s best for the animals, and no money is derived from the effort.
A few words pertaining to his character: In Ohio alone, Chris’ sterling reputation for professionalism marked him as the guy the police call- sometimes in the middle of the night (at a horrific crime scene), throughout the state, to capture/retrieve an alligator, caiman or other animal. Being on the front line of reptile rescue/placement, he has become more sensitized to the horrors wrought upon defenseless animals by some pet owners. He has done all of this at his own expense and he has not hoarded animals, as the opportunity would afford him. Neither has Chris tried to open a road-side fictitious sanctuary where tourists are invited feed hot dogs to obese alligators. Chris has not collected a bounty of crocodilians in his home to show off to friends and attractive women- In fact, the total number of crocodilians he currently keeps is zero.
A ‘hero wannabe’? Chris would never tell the world this, but I will: Last year he was offered a crack at his own broadcast television show, which thousands of herp keepers would give their right arms for the opportunity of; but when the producer asked him to participate in camera demo depicting a ‘total badass’, Chris quickly declined, citing his discomfort in representing the animals he loves in such a manner. Character, indeed.
When Chris remarks on Ball python commerce, he is criticizing the result of trends in the market that may promote widespread cursory stewardship of these animals. When you’ve seen what he has seen among those particular suffering objects of the herp trade, it is hard to be angry with him for his emotive viewpoint, as if trying to be heard above the roar of the crowd.
To say that Chris is opposed to the herp trade is to provoke a roar of laughter among his friends and associates as an absurdity. He has promoted the trade as early as since before I connected with him in 2002 (right here on this very website). Chris is known across the international herp community as a proponent of personal ownership of animals, including exotic ones. Opposed to facilities like Reptile Gardens in South Dakota and European crocodilian/reptile facilities? Cue the laughter. He and I regularly discuss the achievements of these places and their importance to the public education and conservation efforts.
Chris has made public for years his disdain for the unreasonable postures of the “animal right” movement. So, why the reported testimony of a group of people who claim that Chris said that crocodilians as companion animals (pets) should be legally banned north of Florida (or the southern states)? This is ridiculous- Chris has placed crocodilians with keepers in the northern climes of the U.S. (!).
I was not present at this event where Chris supposedly stated what you say he did, so I’ll propose a resolution for this seeming disparity. There is a faction within the herp community and industry that responds with burning anger to anyone in the herp world who rails against the mistreatment of reptiles and amphibians.
Please reread that last sentence and absorb the breadth of the obvious implication.
These persons seem to show little or no concern for the welfare of the animals in their trade. These products in herp commerce are not cell phones, or waffle irons or shoes; they are living, conscious beings that deserve diligently humane treatment. Must I even say what any ethical person thinks of such ones? Libertarians and true lovers of freedom know that the bedfellow of liberty is responsibility, and its application to the herp community is obvious.
If there is a recording of Chris saying what you claim by hearsay that he said, then, knowing Chris, he would kick his own ass for not speaking clearly, since what he is accused of saying is not what he believes! If it can be proven he said it, and he actually meant it, then he would simply “say” that publicly, to make it certain. Why hide it?
I sincerely believe that some among those listening to Chris at that Daytona event became biased as soon as they heard him utter words against the wanton unconcern among some in the herp trade for the future condition of the animals they sell. Chris’ words were probably taken as a declaration of war against free trade, because to them “free” may mean being “free” from responsibility- not just free from restrictive regulation. So, if you witnessed regularly the breadth of systematic cruelty against reptiles and amphibians, perhaps the synapses of your brain would spark the word “responsibility” simultaneously with “freedom.” I propose that the guys standing there in Daytona while Chris was talking shut down their logical capacity because they immediately became defensive (emotive capacity) when they perceived a threat to their unbridled freedom.
This lack of responsibility by some has lead to the present, slow asphyxiation of the herp industry, because the industry failed to adequately police itself, which produced more than enough fodder for prostitute politicians and to those in the public arena who sincerely believe that the only way to stop cruelty it is to ban trade, an idea which Chris (and I) reject as unreasonable, reactionary and unconstitutional. This rift in the herp world has rendered the real, surreal, to the extent that some folks would label one who speaks out for abused reptiles as “extremist”.
One thing you are correct about is Chris’ public, vocal nature. It is passion that drives one to be so vocal and written on an issue. Your assertion that he opposed the herp trade is based on the hearsay of one private incident, whereas the volume of his passionate writings on the worldwide web shows no evidence of such. If wanted to say that, why not write about it? Why limit it to a private meeting? Want to know his views on croc keeping? He’s already told the world. Read his article, “How Much is that Gator in the window?” In this article, he tells the reader the subject as he sees it.
You mention that Chris will never be a member of Crocodile Advisory Group or Crocodile Specialist Group. How, sir, are you able to determine this? Are you a member of these groups that you seem to hold absolute authority over the recruitment of? I don’t believe that you are, but please correct me if I am mistaken. And while Chris is not currently a member of CAG or CSG, I can testify that he is held in high esteem by multiple of its members, many of whom are zoo professionals, those whom you say hate him.
Chris whores himself for free animals? You’ve mistaken him for someone else. Chris knows, as well as any other intelligent animal keeper, that there is no such thing as a “free” animal, and his collection over the years, by my estimation, has been conservative, especially considering the number of animals he has rescued/placed (at his own expense). Unless you have proof of your claim, it is libelous.
You further state that he is delusional and suffers from (a) personality disorder. Perhaps you are a psychiatrist or psychologist and you have had him on your couch, and your diagnosis is sincere. If you are, then I have no complaint about your remark except that you have just violated his medical privacy and Federal law. But if you are not a psychiatric professional who has analyzed him, you are well advised to retract your statement in short order, in the hope removing your liability for libel.
You seem to imply overall that there is generally no problem with the herp commercial trade and that every merchant (or nearly so) is disposed to keep abuse in check and remedy the issues smoothly, but the evidence belies you.
A few words regarding Cindy Steinle: I don’t know her very well but I am of high opinion of her, and if you think she wants to shut down herp commerce, I would point out to you that she is a long-time employee of Kingsnake.com. Your conclusion is without evidence and is, on its face, preposterous. She “got a pet store owner thrown in jail”? Ms. Steinle is not a law enforcement officer, to my knowledge, and therefore doesn’t ‘get people jailed’. That is done by sworn officers of the peace who are convinced of the evidence of a crime. Perhaps you should amend your statement.
My purpose herein is not to ridicule you, but to clearly and fairly correct your assertions, and to encourage you to let down your unwarranted defenses and see the other side, so that you can truly make a balanced, informed judgment about larger matters at hand, and clarify your words to retract obviously spurious accusations.
Christopher Law, Cindy Steinle and others like them are, in my opinion, on the cutting edge of the evolution of herpetoculture, perhaps speaking words less popular, not to garner selfish attention, but to achieve real-time results and to inspire fellow lovers of reptiles and amphibians to make the necessary changes in order to maintain their sovereign freedom to be stewards of these wondrous animals.
I say to you sincerely and without malice, that Herp Keepers who spout vitriol at this idea are like lost characters trapped in a decrepit, expired play script, and they, like certain animals of history, fail to adapt, their failure evidently leading them to extinction.

Truly yours,
Israel Dupont


Member, IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG)
Member, Libertarian Party
Pres/CEO, The Bridgeworth Company
LivingAmongAlligators.com

Monica VW - #25 - 2012-06-15 22:42 -

So "Bob" Cindy and Chris are "animal rights extremist" because they support responsible ownership? These accusations are absolutely ridiculous!

Bob Sampson - #26 - 2012-06-16 06:11 -

Israel,
Thanks for the response and tireless defense of Chris. While yes certain things I have posted are hearsay as I was not directly present at the discussion at Daytona, I heard it from more than one source. And I guess the personality disorder thing was a little far as i am not a medical professional so I will retract it. Other than that no apologies. I feel like I have won the battle as you guys have came out once again and publicly stated a war against the captive breeding community and once again pointed the finger at ball pythons. The people in the ball python community have advanced this hobby and the world of herpetoculture more than any other group especially rescues or academia. All of the modern husbandry techniques,caging systems,and new information on the best keeping of these animals comes from this sector. Zoos and academics are notorious failures in this arena. For this website to support extremists like you guys that go out of their way to slander and damage our incredible community must be stopped. It was ball python and boa breeders who raised incredible amounts of money for USARK and gave this community a leg to stand on. Not low rent rescue types running their mouth and doing nothing. We must rally the troops against people like Chris who seek to damage what we have and hurt our free trade.

There is a reason why literal 16 year olds now have collections of 400-500 snakes all kept in commercial rack systems with genuinely perfect conditions and facilities, yet your typical rescue is in some smelly stinky house with twenty dogs and a few ten gallon tanks. These people are losers with no drive just big mouths. If they really had passion they would have done the ground work to build giant modern facilities with the ability to house all these alleged ball python morphs that are being let loose lol. Not cry about not having the money to do so. If you are skilled and have the passion you make it happen.Like the burm innitiative founder said at tinley, reptile rescue means KEEPER ON A BUDGET! Should I be Impressed that Chris gets rescue calls and convinced local authorities he is an expert? It must feel pretty amazing to be in the company of billy the exterminator and gator boys......LOL..... Again I am just happy to have these public statements to be able to take to all the big breeders and show promoters and prove that this guy is a swarm enemy and slanderer of this community. And if he doesn't like the heat then he shouldn't be out running his mouth as a public figure. He is identical to Winston Card and must be treated as such. And please don't ask me who he is again when I provided a link In earlier statement.

Rob Carmichael - #27 - 2012-06-17 21:04 -

I don't know who "Mr Sampson" is but from what I have read so far, he's a pretty pathetic and misinformed person. In no way is Cindy or Chris connected to HSUS in any way, shape or form. In fact, they have always been very vocal against these organizations and no one fights harder for the rights of hobbyists than these two. Both are friends and both should be commended for their contributions to the hobby and profession. As far as "Mr. Sampson" goes, my guess it is someone who goes by a differen name who lived in Milwaukee. Hmmmm, wonder who that could be?

Doug Hotle - #28 - 2012-06-17 23:35 -

Wow! Hey guys, I wouldn't waste any more time and effort on this crap. Obviously a troll with a chip onhis shoulder and no other way to garner attention.

Ralf - #29 - 2012-06-18 05:11 -

The posters are kind of scandal in my opinion! Getting rapists in general connection to reptile hobbyists is absolutely ridiculous!

I do agree with most if not all of Chris Law´s arguments in this case.

Even free trade needs sometimes liberal regulations and the responsibility of the pet trade on selling large numbers of crocodilians for ridiculous prices and to anybody is not questionable.

I guess this discussion is more concentrated on the controversial view of "free trade" than on responsible husbandry especially of crocodilians and the duties of their keepers.

Bob - #30 - 2012-06-19 12:12 -

Rob Carmichael, another extremist nearly identical to Winston Card.

Jeff Barringer - #31 - 2012-06-19 12:50 -

Is everyone that disagrees with you an extremist Bob? At least everyone else here is posting using their real name. Why don't you pony up and tell us? I'm using mine. All the people your slandering and spreading rumors about here are using theirs. Why no real name Bob? Lawyer advise you not to make comments publicly? Probably a pretty wise move.

But back to that irony thing from your first post.

To bad this Terry Cullen fellow, the one you don't know, didn't vet his staff, volunteers, or potential volunteers, as well as I do mine, you know people like Cindy. Perhaps then he wouldn't be standing up to his ass in mud trying to remember his goal was to drain the swamp rather than play with the alligators.

Doug Hotle - #32 - 2012-07-10 21:49 -

Rob and extremist? WTF? That would be funny if it wasn't so insulting.


The author does not allow comments to this entry


Search The Blogs

Enter a keyword to search kingsnake.com's user blog recent posts and archives.

Wikipedia Finder


Highlight a phrase and click the icon to search on using Wikipedia.