CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Delegates have slowed enforcement of proposed exotic animal restrictions by requiring the Division of Natural Resources to write rules specifying which animals would be regulated.
After hearing from upset pet owners, House Judiciary Committee members became concerned Wednesday that small pets like turtles, parrots and gerbils would be covered under the bill. The bill states that exotic animals to be regulated must be physically or biologically dangerous to humans, livestock and West Virginia wildlife.
The rule-writing process allows for public comment and would require the Legislatures final approval of regulations next winter before the law could be enforced. It also would give the DNR more time to determine which animals would require permits and to set fees.
Prior versions of the bill banned specific animals like snow leopards and lions.