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Bill Sets Limits On Nonnative Pet Sales

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Florida House okayed a bill to limit the sales of nonnative animals by pet dealers. The Bill hopes to discourage nonnative sales altogether.

The bill got unanimous approval in a House subcommittee. It is aimed toward reducing the negative ecological impact of nonnative animals, including: the Tegu lizard, the lionfish, and nonnative lizards and snakes. In order to sell the animals, retailers will be required to perform certain tasks to help track the nonnative animals. Republican Representative Halsey Beshears hopes the bill will reduce sales.

"The problem is, with lionfish, and this is really, it’s difficult to do, is you’re gonna have to tag them," Beshears said. " This will essentially hinder them from perhaps selling this invasive species."

Beshears says the bill is inclusive of nonnative animal species.

"If you look here, we’re addressing all the lionfish, that’s what it is," said Beshears. "So you show the genus here. As well as the Tegu lizard. They list all the species that, specifically, it’s targeting."

Republican Senator Frank Artiles is pushing a similar bill in the Senate. The measure creates a pilot program through the Florida Wildlife Commission to control the sale of nonnative animals by pet dealers. Artiles has participated in python hunts and speaks from experience on the damage of nonnative species.

"We’ve seen barely a dent made. But we need the help of the US Fish and Wildlife to fund these type of invasive species hunting, on a year round basis, especially in the federal parks," Artiles said. "So what we have now in the Everglades, is that little furry creatures have been decimated by the python."

According to Artiles, the US loses 120 billion dollars in damages due to nonnative species each year. Both the House and Senate bill limit dealers to selling twenty animals a year.