Dear Dave [Kirkpatrick],

I have reviewed my file which contains suggestions for regulatory change, and find that for herps, only the following five specific issues have been raised:

  1. Suggestion to exempt albinos and other color morphs that are derived from captive breeding and are not typical of wild populations (except for venomous species and Federally threatened or endangered species).
  2. Suggestion to exempt Nile and Savannah Monitors.
  3. Suggestion to exempt Emerald Tree Boas.
  4. Suggestion to use weight as a criteria, rather than length, to identify large snakes (boas, pythons and anacondas) which require a permit. It is still not clear how large a snake should be before requiring a permit, if indeed any large snake should require a permit. The underlying question is at what size does a large snake become potentially dangerous and capable of causing human fatality. It is also unclear what criteria should be used to issue a permit for oversized snakes if a permit is required.
  5. Suggestion to exempt “venomoid” snakes, with venemoid snakes being defined as individuals of venomous species which have had their venom glands removed surgically.

The three recommendations presented in the minutes of the Herp Society’s Supplemental Board Meeting of 16 October 1988 are far too broad and generic to be taken as specific recommendations. The stated premise that “permits should be obtainable by anyone wanting one for any animal they wish to keep” is unrealistic, contradicts basic conservation policy, and is inconsistent with the Division’s regulatory mandates.

To date, thorough justifications have only been presented for suggestion number 1, and none of the suggestions have been supported by written justification.

The Division is not likely to consider holding a public hearing to generically discuss the regulation known as the Exemption List (321 CMR 9.01). If members of the Herp Society have other specific suggestions for amendments or can provide written arguments for the five suggestions listed here, I would encourage you to send them to me or to the Division’s Director, Wayne MacCallum. If you would like to discuss any issue or recommendations in detail, I will be glad to speak or meet with anyone who wishes to.

Thomas W. French
Asst. Director DFW