Arlington exotic-pet ban would involve hefty daily fines

Those who violate Arlington’s still-a-work-in-progress ban on exotic pets would face fines of $250 – per day – that they are out of compliance, according to a revised proposal forwarded by staff to the County Board.

Board members plan to consider the revamped policy in September; it has been the subject of back-and-forth contention for months between not only the Arlington community but also outside advocates for specific types of non-traditional animals as pets.

As expected, the new draft includes a grandfather clause for exotic pets already in Arlington, although it would require owners to register them with county officials.

Arlington has had regulations on domestic and wild animals and fowl since the 1930s, but the rules have been broad-based rather than specific.

Under the revision set for action in September, wild/exotic animals would be defined as non-human primates, raccoons, skunks, wolves, coyotes, squirrels, foxes, leopards, panthers, tigers, lions, bears, bobcats, lynx, caracals, other wild cats, crocodiles, venomous snakes, venomous reptiles, any other warm-blooded mammal that normally can be found in the wild, most scorpions and some spiders.

Among those exempted from the rules: Born-and-bred-in-captivity rabbits, rats, mice, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, hedgehogs, sugar gliders (possum-like marsupials) and guinea pigs, along with many birds, non-venomous snakes and non-venomous reptiles.

The proposed revisions also include a large section on the transport of non-venomous snakes and reporting that must occur when one escapes from its captivity. It also requires that snakes over 25 pounds have a microchip implanted for tracking.

Violations of the proposed code revisions would be classified as Class 4 misdemeanors, with fines up to $250 per day. Subsequent violations would be classified as Class 3 misdemeanors, with fines of up to $500 per day.

The proposal to grandfather in existing pets that otherwise would be banned would specifically not include venomous snakes and reptiles, as they already are banned under county regulations.



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