GUTHRIE - A revised banned animals list, along with registration fees and caging regulations, will be submitted Friday for further legislative action.
West Virginia's Dangerous Wild Animal Board met Wednesday at the Conservation Agency headquarters in Guthrie, W.Va., near Charleston. The three-member board unanimously approved a revised list of banned animals, as well as fees and caging guidelines for registration of existing exotic animals on the list.
The board's technical sub-committee met last week to revise the list after board members agreed to throw out an earlier, more controversial list of banned and dangerous animals in favor of a list used in Ohio. The Ohio list was created and approved by the Ohio legislature following the 2011 release of exotic and dangerous animals from a private zoo in Zanesville.
Once filed, the revised West Virginia list, along with a compilation of public comments, will go before the West Virginia Joint Legislative Rulemaking Review Committee for further consideration. The rules and list ultimately must be approved by the state Legislature before it goes into effect.
Jodee Martin, an administrative assistant with the state Department of Agriculture, said as of Wednesday officials had received 632 written public comments. Martin said while she did not have a breakdown of all the complaints, many were form letters concerning specific breeds of animals.
Officials Wednesday removed entries for fish on the banned animals list, citing the majority of the species being already governed under existing code. The board also added cape buffalo to the list of banned animals, saying it was accidentally removed during last week's revisions.
The board also clarified proposed registration fees for exotic animals. A household would pay $10 to register all exotic animals, with an additional fee of $150 per animal for mammals, $100 per animal for reptiles and $50 per animal for snakes. Those fees would be assessed annually.
The board is scheduled to meet again Sept. 9 in Guthrie to work on clarifying the application process and which animals would be excluded from the banned list.
The banned list will continue on public comment period until noon Friday. Comments can be submitted only in writing to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Attn: Jodee Martin, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East Charleston, WV 25305, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments received after noon Friday will not be included in the official filing.
A revised list will be made available on wvagriculture.org.