Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Fooble » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:35 am

This is all good and well theoretically.

But as we all know the legal drinking age in this country is 18.

I'm almost certain there isn't a kid who hasn't consumed alcohol ( be it once off or heavily) before there 18th birthday.

Little strayed but i cant see something like this ever working or being effective.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Westley Price » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:49 am

That's fine Fooble, but imagine if SA did not have a legal drinking age at all. Kids would result to crime for an income to buy booze, irresponsible parents would feed their kids alcohol to laugh at them when they're drunk, every third teen girl would be preagnant or even worse, a prostitute.

Now that is EXACTLY where we are sitting now in this hobby.

I know I'm exaggerating, but there's definitely a comparison to be made.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Silvrav » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:22 pm

Have to agree...all laws start soomehwere.

Even if this implementation only really works in 10years time, we need to take the first step now.

Start of with a petition?
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby gaboon69 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:47 pm

No under 18s without supervision or approval of parents.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Rob » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:29 pm

I believe the seller has a major responsibility in this situation, and I think educating him and getting him to co-operate is the best chance of reducing the occurrence of minors keeping venomous snakes, not legislation.

See this disclaimer in an advert found on a popular US site.

"Disclaimer: not to be a jerk but if we have any reason to believe that you would not be qualified to safely care for a rattlesnake we will refuse the sale. As with any animal we sell, we require that you are at least 18 years of age to purchase. Thanks for your understanding :)"

He covers both important points there, first (and most important if you ask me) the fact that he may deny the sale if he feels you are "not qualified", IE age doesn't matter, then also mentions that no sale will be made to under 18s.
In my opinion this is the ultimate approach. The idea being that the seller sacrifice the sale if he disqualifies the buyer. If a seller builds a reputation for responsible selling it will serve his interest in the long run.

FYI - Other disclaimers (there are laws in US regarding the keeping of venomous snakes)

*If you need a permit in your place of residence I must have a copy before I ship! No Sales to Minors, 18yrs + only! Shipping through Delta ONLY*

*Venomous Reptiles sold ONLY to Legally Permitted Adults & only where venomous reptiles are permitted.. *

*No sales to minors. Proof of age may be required at my discretion.*
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby phish » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:49 pm

Good point Rob.

I'd add that, regardless of any specific legislation governing keeping reptiles, should a dealer sell a venomous snake to a minor without the parents consent and that minor was subsequently bitten the dealer could face a significant claim under civil law. Thus its probably in the interest of people selling venomous to "self regulate".
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Bushviper » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:20 am

The shop often does not care about customer in many cases because it has got to make a sale to survive. If the kid gets mauled by a dog or kicked in the head by a horse then nobody is going to blame the breeder or pet shop for selling these to a kid. If the kid gets nailed by an exotic then we will be targeted regardless.

In Gauteng the rules are that you cannot get a permit for a deadly (or seriously) venomous species if you are under the age of 18 and even then it is turned down if you have not completed a snake bite and snake handling course. What is ironic is that in these cases we do have antivenom to save the persons life. With the exotics we do not have that luxury.

Education is the answer but so few people ask the question.

I shudder to think what will happen when the authorities can decide whether we can keep certain species. It is so easy to make it cost you lots of money and then still deny you that right. If you look at the rules about caging implemented in the Eastern and Western cape then you realise what a possible nightmare we could have when rules are made by people who are totally clueless.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby michael » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:16 pm

Disclaimers and legislations don’t apply to money hungry reptile traders. We all know if you can’t get it here then go there. I know of quite a few kids who are/have been keeping highly venomous snakes. Sometimes the parents don’t know other times they are simply to stupid to understand the implications of their child’s pet. In a perfect world if all the traders and breeders were honest then we wouldn’t even be having this discussion, but this world is far from perfect.
If we begin a process of restricting the ownership of venomous reptiles how long won’t it be before the same legislation that started with good intentions is perverted and used to attack all reptile keepers’ even competent ones. Its one thing to start a ball rolling its another thing to stop it!

I think herp clubs can play a vital role in encouraging responsible ownership and trade of venomous species. This would have to apply to all members young and old. Somehow the herp community must regulate themselves with regards to the trade in venomous species and large constrictors. If there are traders who are known to be doing unethical trades or keeping animals in poor conditions they must be exposed publically.

If a kid dies or is maimed by a venomous snake or for that matter a neighbor is injured because someone’s “pet” escapes then this whole community will feel the effects. We all need to be responsible for our actions, who we do business with and how we conduct ourselves, even what we choose to breed. This will begin setting a good foundation for the future.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby froot » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:52 pm

It seems everyone agrees unanomously on this, and so do I.

The next question is what do we do?
Do we pre-empt the situation and if there is a way, enforce controls as a community before the authoroties feel the need to get involved?
How? Through the pet traders association? Stipulate that venomous snakes can only be sold to certificate holders? It seems impractical but... any suggestions?
I also think that any buyer of a venomous snake MUST be up to speed with that species' venom properties, symptoms, and first aid treatment. Is there such a database out there? Is a bite protocol the right word for this?
Shouldn't we assemble one regardless of the outcomes of this discussion? Who's up for a challenge?
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby JPWittstock » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:41 pm

Thanks for volunteering Froot,

:D
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Snakes4Africa » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:05 pm

I like the idea of "No sales (of any reptile) to anybody under 18". This does not preclude under 18's keeping snakes etc, but means that they cannot buy them without their parents knowledge and permission.
A certificate is often not worth the paper it is printed on, just because he did some course does not necessarily mean he is competent to keep something venomous. Conversely, somebody who has no interest in a course may know a lot more about venomous snakes and the dangers than somebody who "had to do the course".
Another serious point that has not yet been mentioned is culpability. If a venomous snake (or large constrictor) escapes and kills a neighbours child or pet, who is responsible? not the 12 year-old owner of the snake, but his parents. The 12 year-old cannot legally face the consequences.
I feel that the way to go from here is to simply keep a signed indemnity form with ID numbers and addresses of the buyers. That way, if anything goes wrong, the dealer is not liable. This, does not, however, cover a second or third sale.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Bushviper » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:27 am

Snakes4Africa wrote: A certificate is often not worth the paper it is printed on, just because he did some course does not necessarily mean he is competent to keep something venomous. Conversely, somebody who has no interest in a course may know a lot more about venomous snakes and the dangers than somebody who "had to do the course".


If you do a recognised course then after you have written an exam then I suppose it should count for something. I reckon that if the course is endorsed by the University of Witwatersrand and allocated 8 cpb points then it is worth a bit more than the paper it is printed on.

If you get a certificate just for attending then I could arrive with a watermelon and we both get the certificate. Having a monkey puzzle test means that in theory you have to be really stupid to not pass that one as well. Those courses are available today and have very little value. This is the same problem if you do a nursing diploma recognised by the nursing council or a nursing course by a "college" which has no credibility. This is also rife in Gauteng and I suppose in the other provinces too.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby michael » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:46 am

I understand what Snakes4Africa was getting at. No matter how good the course is it cannot replace experience it also cannot instill competency. The guy may have more knowledge after doing the course which is good but this still does not make him a competent handler or a knowledgeable keeper. This comes with time. Perhaps a letter from a recognized mentor should be a prerequisite before a club allows someone to keep venomous snakes? This still doesn’t help for those that are not members of clubs though.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Bushviper » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:45 pm

The falconary guys have this system where you have to get a mentor and then work under him before you can get your first bird. Unfortunately this is only going to work for indigenous species and not for exotics.

Nattie has been keeping snakes for close to 20 years now. Does this make him a competent keeper and would you want him as your mentor? Why when he got bitten did the people who present courses (with certificates) phone me to come and help with the bite?

I dont have a solution for this problem. The British have a Dangerous Wild Animal license which has certain pre-requisites but this seems to cover just the cages and a vets' recommendation but I dont know about the handling part and knowing what to do in the event of a snake bite. Possibly one of the UK members could enlighten us?
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby TonyK » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:28 pm

You guys should be carefull with what you wish for,why whould anybody want more rules and regulations forced apon them.The regulations only make things more difficult for the honest guy.In the end only the honest guys suffer while the majority of guys will just continue to keep their hobby secret and underground.When it comes to teenagers its the parents who should be held responsible for their kids, as far as I am concerned.
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