February 8, 2011
DEP Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Regulations Concerning Possession of Wild Animals
Public Hearing at DEP Headquarters Feb. 15
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public hearing February 15 on proposed changes to regulations governing the importation, possession, and liberation of wild animals.
The public hearing will take place at 6 p.m. at DEP Headquarters, 79 Elm Street, Hartford.
The proposed regulations are the result of the passage of Public Act 09-198, which required the development of new regulations affecting the importation, possession, and liberation of wild animals in the state.
DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, "The proposed regulations create a workable and efficient means of regulating possession of wild animals – while at the same time protecting public health and safety, agricultural interests, and the health of native plants and animals."
"These proposed regulations," Marrella said, "are the result of a robust process that included three informal public forums, discussions with interested stakeholders and consultation with other state agencies – such as the Departments of Public Health and Agriculture – whose responsibilities touch on this issue. We thank everyone who has participated in this process and look forward to hearing additional comments at the upcoming public hearing."
The proposed regulations:
- Establish lists of wild animals that, due to their inherent threat to public health and safety, agricultural crops or native plants and animals may not be imported or possessed in Connecticut.
- Allow municipal parks, zoos, marine mammal parks, aquaria, circuses, nature centers, museums, exhibitors, laboratories, and research facilities to import and possess many species without a permit – and establish permit provisions for these facilities to have animals listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern in Connecticut.
- Provide for the general public to possess a wide range of animals – generally speaking, those commonly sold in the pet trade – without a permit.
The regulations would also establish:
- Explicit criteria for what constitutes a museum, nature center, or exhibitor;
- Provisions to allow for veterinarians to care for a range of animals;
- Requirements for notification in the event of wild animal escape; and
- Wild animal disease prevention and reporting requirements.
All interested persons are invited to express their views on the proposed regulations at the February 15 public hearing.
The DEP will also accept written comment on the proposed regulations through the close of business on March 1. Comments can be mailed to the DEP at 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106, to the attention of George Babey, Public Hearing Officer; or emailed to George.firstname.lastname@example.org
All comments submitted to DEP in writing or offered at the public hearing will be considered in the development of the final regulations. The final regulations must be approved by the General Assembly’s Regulations Review Committee before they can take effect.
Copies of the proposed regulations may be obtained online at www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2586&Q=471192, by writing the DEP Bureau of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106, or by calling (860) 424-3011.