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News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday! . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Box Turtle . . . . . . . . . .  Madison Herp Society Meeting - Aug. 12, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  All Maryland Reptile Show - Aug. 13, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  Lancaster Herp Society Meeting - Aug. 19, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  DFW Herp Society Meeting - Aug. 20, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  Bay Area Herpetological Society Meeting - Aug. 26, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  Northern Virginia Reptile Show - Aug. 27, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  Central Illinois Herp Society Meeting - Sept. 01, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  Greater Cincinnati Herp Society Meeting - Sept. 07, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  Madison Herp Society Meeting - Sept. 09, 2022 . . . . . . . . . .  East Coast Reptile Super Expo - Sept. 10, 2022 . . . . . . . . . . 

Chat Week 98 Transcript
12/8/98 - Jeff Barringer

joherp - Let's start off with Jeff telling us what he considers the main mission of NRAAC
jeffb - The main mission of NRAAC is to be the world wide clearinghouse for information regarding regulations and legislation involving the utiliztaion of herpetofauna
jeffb - to meet this goal we began to assemble in the spring of 98, a team of core herpers dedicated to keeping abreast of these issues and spread the word amongst those impacted
jeffb - 1998 was a bad year for herpetocultursists
jeffb - we saw a herp show raided and a number of smaller stings including a sting in maryland that netted 24 pet stores
jeffb - we also saw over 28 states either implement or attempt to implement new regulations regarding native herpetofauna
jeffb - because NRAAC was able to mobilize we were able to impact some regulatory steps but not many
jeffb - In texas we got a number of changes to the new regs, and we totally stopped AB409 in calfifornia
jeffb - we still hyave a long way to go as an organization
jeffb - but I ask that you not judge our effectiveness by what we accomplish this year or the next, but what we have acomplished twenty years from now
jeffb - I would now like to open the floor to questions.... joherp will allow each of you in turn the chance to talk

Speckled_Man - Hi Jeff, are there individual state chapters
jeffb - yes there are, but they are very loosely framed atthe moment

alan - What will the future role of NRAAC be ?
jeffb - NRAAC will act as an information clearinghouse, and also will act as the direct contact organization between the industry/hobby and legislative/regulatory agencies
jeffb - we hope to get on every states non-game advisory councils and if they don't have one we need to push the formation of one

BG - jeff, there was a bill that i remember hearing about earlier this year, concerning the shipping of herps. It was kinda like, the airline had to take responsibility for the herps, when they were being shipped, have you heard anything else on this, or has it just kinda faded away?
jeffb - BG the USFW shipping regulations were withdrawn in August of this year. They were supplanted by voluntary regulations implemented by the IATA (International Air Transport Association.)
jeffb - these new regulations began in october
BG - hmmm
jeffb - while they are considered mandatory by the airlines, they are not enforced by USFW

Okie_Python - How do we avoid future problems like Oklahoma experienced earlier this year where we were saved from a lot of new BS laws by a gracious governor?
jeffb - the Oklahome regulations made it as far as they did because atthe time there was no organization such as NRAAC to spread the word... we only found out after it got to the governors desk
Okie_Python - Last minute veto as it hit his desk was the first anyone had even heard of them being proposed.
Okie_Python - Right, So we need better organized?
jeffb - the main thing to remember here is this.... knowing that regs/legs are in the works is the first step.
jeffb - we proved w/AB409 and texas that knowing early is the key...

TF Was wondering if anything came of that Emergency rule for Indiana
jeffb - the last we heard was that there was a public meeting appx 2 weeks ago about implementing the new regulations
jeffb - I don't know where they are at in that process currently
jeffb - I would contact ICORAL for info. The indiana chapter is called ICORAL and to be honest they have more money/lawyers than NRAAC National does
jeffb - I would contact ICORAL directly through the NRAAC webopage for indiana
sandman - Thanks, if I can help let me know
jeffb - right now NRAAC national has a whopping $53.00 in the bank
jeffb - after the last newsletter
Foxglove thats terrible
jeffb - which everyone should start receiving any day now

TURTLEBOY I know and appreciate that the NRAAC is preserving our beloved hobby, which I appreciate, but do you also try to preserve individual species
jeffb - While we would like to get into species preservation and habitat preservation efforts, righht now we are not equipped to handle such tasks
jeffb - as the organization grows I envision it as a worldwide body working with conservation groups along these lines

will2 Jeff, will you be at the NRAAC booth at Columbia,SC?? If not then who will be there??
jeffb - no... Camby we be there
will2 ok

Jeff, please explain NRAAC's general stance on state herp regs. That is to say, what does NRAAC feel it takes to make a good herp law?
jeffb - Good laws themselves should come about because of a need....... too many times regulations and laws are passed because it looks good on paper, and to give the appearance that an agency is doing something .
jeffb - A common misconcepcion about NRAAC is that we are against regulation, which is not true at all
jeffb - we support regulations where the need exists
jeffb - In the US there is one very big area that comes to mind in terms of regulation being needed and thats in the collection of reptiles and amphibians for overseas food markets

dinopolis I was wondering what is going on with my state coordinator Michael Thorne...I Emailed him and asked him if there was anything I could help with or what his job entails...I also aked him to post in the NRAAC forum for all to hear...he said he would write sonn...that's all I've heard since....I Emailed him after the meeting last month...where is he? what does he do?does he really exist?
jeffb - he does in fact exist...I spoke to him today.... One of the problems that many NRAAC officers have is that we sometimes aren't as responsive as we might be.
jeffb - I am probably the most guilty offender of that of all

Herpmystr - how is the NRAAC helping with Texas interest per say ?
jeffb - NRAAC has 5 of its members on the non-game advisory committe and our interests are more represented than any other interest group
jeffb - these members have a wide scope of interests and can present many different facets to the committe so that proposals can be viewed from a number of view points
Herpmystr - thanks Jeff, hey from SA !!
jeffb - hey SA
Herpmystr - Mike says hi 2
Herpmystr - berardi

KMO - What is NRAAC's position on regulations regarding the keeping of dangerously venomous snakes?
jeffb - KMO we have not developed an official position on that as yet. At the moment our stance is that Venomous snakes are an enormous responsibility and choosing to keep or breed them should not be considered lightly
jeffb - the official policy will be developed by the NRAAC council at a time when we are more solidified
KMO - Same answer for large constrictors?
jeffb - yes
jeffb - we aren't against keeping hots, or large constrictors

sandman - I support the NRAAC but I'm worried that it will turn into another enviromental group that wants to help my snakes by stoping how I make a living ( I run a transmission shop ) or try to stop my other hobbies like drag racing. I live in Indy and I haven't heard anything new about the emergency rule.
jeffb - sandman NRAAC is more akin to the NRA than to PETA
jeffb - we recognize that its up to us to be responsble herpers and to pass these ideals to todays youth
jeffb - we recognize that herpetofauna is a resource and that it should be used wisely

RazorBackHerps - What is the future with so many people getting invoved in the reptile buisness?
jeffb - Razor the industry has always had peaks and valleys but one thing remains constant and that is the threat to the hobby by over-regulation
jeffb - only by having a voice in regulation will we be able to sustain our rights to keep these animals

steveb Can NRAAC help if a person has local zoning problems?
jeffb - at the moment were not really equipped to do so, and local zoning/ordinances are beginning to be a big isssue
jeffb - local regulations are tough and we would have to be a lot bigger and have enough members in your local area to rally... we could provide logistical support in the way of communicatioons, and letters from respected herpetologists supporting many opinions
jeffb - we do plan on getting much more involved at a local level but we have to get more structure in place first

BG - Jeff, here in the state of Florida, a bill was just passed that is going to cause a merge between marine patrol, and Florida game commision. Just curious if you think that any new laws here in the state of Florida will be passed? Florida seems like it is the last "Big" herp state that has not really been affected by anything. The only real laws that there are are, you need a permit in the state of Fl in order to sell any native/or non native herps,
jeffb - BG i can't help but think that florida will not pass up the "non-game" bandwagon opportunity to begin some new regulatory effort
BG - kinda started outwest, and is pushing its way eastward
jeffb - actually it reminds me of the way the virus in the novel "hot zone" spread
RichH - lol

KevinA - I just moved to a new municipality in Ohio, I have a few boids and I have come to find out that NO SNAKES period are allowed in my city. What should I do?
jeffb - first of all I would begin contacting all the localpet stores and see if any are in violation.... if so explain that they are in violation and that its in their interest to get the regs repealed
jeffb - also find out how the regulations were implenented and why
jeffb - the arguement that snakes are too dangerous does'nt hold water
jeffb - and can be easily disproven...
morelia - no, but he is right
KevinA - There are NO pet shops in the city limits with the regulation. The pet stores just tell me to keep quiet about my friends
jeffb - time to start a drive to repeal the regs
morelia - pet snakes have caused a total of about 4 deaths in north america, horses and dogs casue dozens
jeffb - the downside is that if you do it yourself you need to be snake free
jeffb - because getting areested for violating the regs will discredit your efforts
KevinA - how would I go about that. I belong to a local herp club. Could I get help there?
jeffb - yes thats the first place to start... and it would give the society a reason to have monthly meetings
KevinA - thank you for all the help Jeff!! I have a little better idea on handling the legal issues now! Just one more question. Would NRAAC be able to help me?
jeffb - Kevin in some ways we can.... in others we can't...
KevinA - I just don't want to go to jail for keeping the animals I love
jeffb - we can provide a place for you to start the rallying cry to herpers in your area and we can inform our ohio members of your plight
KevinA - It sounds stupid to me to prohibit all snakes, ya know?
jeffb - one thing you might want to do is right a 2-3 paragraph story on the dilema you face and submit it to ur newsletter editor
RichH - not if most people fear them
KevinA - I'd appreciate that
jeffb - of course you can submit the story anonymously.... we have lots of things submitted that way

RazorBackHerps - what do you thind the 2yk effect will have on our trade?
jeffb - LOL... well I hope it doesn't kill my server
morelia - I work for a bank, and i tell you, a bank is not where my money will be when y2k roles around

Ralphine - Just a comment. Would like to see Reptile Shows better advertised. Missed one in York, PA because didn't see any adv. til the day before. Sent this suggestion to Kevin, PA pres.
jeffb - Ralphine we try to give as much PR to the shows that we attend as possible thru newsletter/and nraac & kingsnake websites
Ralphine - That type of adv. will just reach US; we need to reach the general public as well in the interests of education as a prescription for ignorance.
jeffb - I agree ralphine but there are so many issues and so few hands/$ at the moment

Interested - I'm interested in breeding and selling in TN... how do you find out about licensing, etc. for the state you are in?
chameleo - For Tennessee you need to contact Pete Wyatt with TWRA
Interested - thanks

RichH - Jeff, is the goal here to eventually get all the states united, to the point that every lone herper could count on the whole org.. for support?
jeffb - NRAAC will be announcing a new membership program in January that has various levels of membership
jeffb - yes and vice versa richh
RichH - very good jeff, I see the point

RazorBackHerps - Kingsnakes seems to be doing so well, what do you see for the future.
jeffb - razor in answer to your earlier question about kingsnakes... all these different animal groups see their place in the sun in the industry at various times and places
jeffb - whats hot this week is not next and vice versa

DougL - what do we do if we feel that our state is not being represented right or the Coord seems not to care,,,and has not said a thing to us but his hello email..???
jeffb - thats a tough question....
DougL - the only way i have gotten his attention is by posting about it in the forums....
DougL - multiple emails and such,,,
jeffb - we have not put into place any type of complaint system or such, and its tough to fire people who volunteer
DougL - is there going to be like an election process? I have heard that but only second hand
RichH - elections in the future?
jeffb - It was hoped to have an election of state coords by Jan 1999 but were not ready yet....
jeffb - the problem is that most of the good/connected/established people are too busy and don't want to commit the effort required
DougL - then why do they volunteer if they cant fufill the duty?
jeffb - bear in mind that there are not as many people as committed to this as john hollister and I am
jeffb - in some cases they didn't volunteer.....most of the officers have fallen to my blackamil and coersion traps
DougL - there are, alot actually
jeffb - John H methinks I smell a volunteer
DougL - i did along time ago...
joherp - suck him in. roped and hogtied
jeffb - doug....submit an officers app at the website and the Council will review it
jeffb - some states require more than one coordinator as well
RichH - like florida?
KevinA - I could try and help if you need me
DougL - true, CA too
jeffb - california being a good example
RichH - 3 here you think
jeffb - possibly....
joherp - SC has two, one for the north, one for the south. good idea.

RichH - Jeff, implement a member fee, NRAAC listed as non-profit?
jeffb - not at the moment richh but we intend to be
jeffb - thats why we havent implemented the fee yet
RichH - IC

jeffb - it was our intention as a nattional org to plant the seeds of organization and let the state groups form as seperate fiscal entitys
jeffb - each state group would send a member to represent the state on the council
RichH - that would last for a while Jeff but better with a national board
jeffb - hey ... Im makingthis stuff up as I go along... I can't bake cakes well either ;)
jeffb - please bear in mind that this is the first national organization I've ever started and if my cardioloigist has his way, my last

DougL - as far as the NRAAC is concerned, if we did get to great #'s say like the NRA. Would he take the time and effort to help anyone,individual or store, that knowingly is selling keeping or importing herps illegally?
jeffb - NRAAC will never knowingly support anyone that is knowingly in violation of state fed or international laws

triaspis - hollister, have you heard any word on how aggressively TP&W plans on enforcing its new regs?
joherp - no, nothing yet. they haven't even posted the final regs, nor contacted the pet stores in the state.
triaspis - do you foresee any big "busts"?
jeffb - yes...
joherp - and the regs are due in Jan first.
RichH - well then get it functional quickly
jeffb - I forsee lots of big busts around the country and heres why...
jeffb - All these agencies cannot really enforce these regulations,,,, it is similar to the war on drugs....
jeffb - the best they can hope for is to score PR victorys to keep our heads down and justify bigger budgets
triaspis - so is it true that a TP&W game warden can ask to enter your breeding facilities at any time to see your animals if you are permitted?
RichH - It is in Florida triaspis
joherp - at any reasonable hour.
triaspis - how are they to tell the difference in a celaenops and a taylori?
RichH - They'll guess and you better hope they are right
jeffb - they won't triaspis... theyll fine you and let the court sort it out
triaspis - it will be interesting to see how these new regs are enforced...
lisssa - and the fate of the animal awaiting the hearing???
triaspis - so in order to be safe, over the possession limit or not, one should be permitted? in your opinions...
jeffb - triaspis the regs will probably be enforced on a few people specifically "targeted" and anyone that they can snare that comes in contact with him. If you are under the established limits I would NOT get permitted as you will be required to report and it also give TP&W probable cause to stop by your house

JohnW - John, What's your best guess as to the percentage or number of Texas pet shops selling native herps?
joherp - jeff might know that, Johnw
jeffb - well since anoles are native.....
jeffb - 35%
jeffb - and so far TP&W has done 0 to inform them of the new regs
JohnW - Are the Chain pet stores able to purchase commercial permits for the entire chain?
jeffb - they're working that out but yes
jeffb - Petsmart alone estimates thart it will cost them 40-60K to implement the regs at there stores in Texas
jeffb - with all the training/reporting/licensing involved
JohnW - It might be cheaper for them to not sell Texas natives
RichH - Bet that is what the goal was
jeffb - exactly what they will do...or they may quit selling herps at all
joherp - has petsmart done anything toward passing out nraac apps at their stores?
jeffb - no
jeffb - I have been doing too much of the basic legwork to contact them again

JohnW - There's a national organization of pet store owners. Were they present at any meetings with TP&W?
jeffb - PIJAC.... no they did not attend nor contact TP&W at all

jeffc - That would be rich. Petsmart and NRAAC working hand in hand. It may have to be done but with the way many herpers already feel about Petsmart it will not do NRAAC membership recruiting any good.
jeffb - it might if NRAAC started a store cert program
DougL - i agree with that idea
jeffb - and we are considering it
DougL - good one actually
jeffb - NRAAC would like to do a lot of things but they all seem to require money and membership
jeffc - A store certification program is a good idea. But so many herpers hate Petsmart ( and with some justificatio) it will cause NRAAC problems if mainstream herpers see NRAAC working with Petsmart against TP&W. I just think NRAAC has to be careful with who they get close.
jeffb - if we can get membership up to the 40-50,000 level then the certification program will work
jeffb - the certification program will have a complaint mechanism that will ensure action on the part of certified stores and will have NRAAC secret shopper inspections

triaspis - At current how many members does NRAAC have? just curious...
jeffb - 1800
RichH - Jeff, have we been losing members?
jeffb - no... we have perhaps lost 4-5

DougL - can i ask a hypethetical question please?
DougL - say a state has a law against Monitors, and someone was caught with one or two. Would this violate NRAAC regs or would something like this, would we help the person out. Again this is a hyp....
DougL - or would we try to just help change the laws and regs..
jeffb - DougL we may provide him logistical assistance but we won't hire an attorney for him
jeffb - logistical assistance meaning tell him the name of an attorney in his area, provide him background info etc...
DougL - ok i like that. great....
jeffb - and we would also work to change the existing regs

joherp - Apathy, more than any other factor, is what is going to hurt herping in all its facets - collecting, keeping, breeding, selling
triaspis - but then the question arises, how do you prevent apathy?
lisssa - exactly, or how can we get em wound up???
triaspis - NRAAC is seemingly doing all it can, but almost to no avail
triaspis - we're lacking numbers...
jeffb - unfortunately the number one thing that drives membership to our organization is regualtion and enforcement
RichH - yep
RichH - the more laws on us the more we need help
joherp - estimated 3,000,000 homes in this country keeping herps, 1800 members in nraac, probably 5% of them willing to be active
JohnW - Just keep watching the NRA.... They are professionals at maintaining a high level of concern
jeffb - we impacted a number of regulatory attempts this year
jeffc - John is right on the money about apathy. Look here we had 30+ here last night to talk with Kam and Bob and only 15 tonight here for this. And only 1800 members out of perhaps a million herp owners.

jeffb - now one of the down sides is this.... I find myself financially having to go back to work.... this will mean a reduction in the amount of time I can devote to both kingsnake and NRAAC

joherp - At least 1000 people in Texas keeping herps, I doubt that 15 of them wrote letters concerning the proposed regs.
RichH - that is nothing
triaspis - I certainly did...
triaspis - but where did it get us?
jeffb - joherp I think your wrong... I can name well over 15 that I know wrote
joherp - good.
jeffb - it got us....
jeffb - an albino exclusion
jeffb - the limits moved from 6 to 25
jeffb - and it also got the appointment of a nongame committee
jeffb - among other things
triaspis - I guess we have got some minor changes....
joherp - personally, I have little faith in the non-game committee. Outside agitation, some decent press is what will get things done.
triaspis - but a drop in the bucket compared to the overall regs...
jeffb - I disagree...
jeffb - the non-game committee was a complete surprise to non-game dept and is the last thing they wanted
jeffb - now they have a group of involved\/informed/interested/and connected people watching every move triaspis - watching, but in essense powerless....
jeffb - disagree

JohnW - In California, AB409 will come back for a vote in 1999, I'd bet that more ferret owners will write letters than herpers

jeffc - But I bet there are 50,000+ keeping herps in Tejas.

Okie_Python - Jeff, what could/should have been done differently in TX?
jeffb - we should have gotten the pet stores more completely involved and sooner
jeffb - if we had gotten to every pet store in the state and got them building membership and involvement we POSSIBLY could have stopped it
joherp - The state pretty had everything in place when they went public. we did not.
jeffb - well guys its 10pm
joherp - Thank you Jeff. good job you are doing.
DougL - actually i need to go to bed. Jeff thanks for taking the time, much needed
jeffb - thank you for listening to me
jeffb - see yall next month

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