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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran Slashmaster's Avatar
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    Question: Lacey Act labeling

    Hi guys! I have a question that's been nagging away at the back of my mind.

    I ordered a beautiful snake from a breeder with excellent reviews on Fauna. The snake wasn't the issue; the shipping was. When I received the package it wasn't labeled in accordance with the Lacey Act. In fact, the box was a brown box with no paperwork at all (not even a sales receipt or a business card inside).

    The snake is very healthy and eating like a champ, but the implications of the shipping have gotten me wondering: if you order a herp and it arrives to you like that, does that mean you are breaking the Lacey Act or is it just the shipper who is? Is there any liability to me for receiving said package?

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Registered User Cameron Lamb Exotics's Avatar
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    I believe it would be the shippers fault but might stop you from getting the package.

  3. #3
    BPnet Veteran Homegrownscales's Avatar
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    Yes it is on the shipper. You don't need paper work per se on or in the box. The act does state that the box should be labeled with number and species of the animal inside. If they had opened it and found that it wasn't labeled correctly they could have sent it back to the shipper with quite a fine as well.


    Check out what's new on my website... www.Homegrownscales.com

  4. #4
    BPnet Senior Member Robyn@SYR's Avatar
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    Fish and Wildlife (with the cooperation of FedEx and UPS) are doing more and more package inspections for live shipments, or contraband, and if the dogs they use ping a package as live, and it is NOT labeled, it gets opened and inspected. Notices then go out to the shipper and receiver. There can be fines and penalties involved.

    If the box IS properly labeled on the outside- Wildlife- Live Harmless Reptiles, then the package should be sent on its way with no inspection.

    California in particular has been the most vigilant about this. The inspector gave us the specific verbiage guideline above for box labeling.

    Given the current state of legislative affairs, it is irresponsible for folks to ship unlabeled packages, it puts the entire industry/hobby in further jeopardy.

    However, going overboard with your labeling- giant red letters, writing on every side of the box, adding "warnings", not only does it NOT do you any good, or get you any special handling, it can actually draw unwanted attention and create reptile phobic handling and delay for your package.

    I encourage shippers to label appropriately, not obnoxiously.

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  6. #5
    BPnet Veteran interloc's Avatar
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    Re: Question: Lacey Act labeling

    Quote Originally Posted by Robyn@SYR View Post
    Fish and Wildlife (with the cooperation of FedEx and UPS) are doing more and more package inspections for live shipments, or contraband, and if the dogs they use ping a package as live, and it is NOT labeled, it gets opened and inspected. Notices then go out to the shipper and receiver. There can be fines and penalties involved.

    If the box IS properly labeled on the outside- Wildlife- Live Harmless Reptiles, then the package should be sent on its way with no inspection.


    California in particular has been the most vigilant about this. The inspector gave us the specific verbiage guideline above for box labeling.

    Given the current state of legislative affairs, it is irresponsible for folks to ship unlabeled packages, it puts the entire industry/hobby in further jeopardy.

    However, going overboard with your labeling- giant red letters, writing on every side of the box, adding "warnings", not only does it NOT do you any good, or get you any special handling, it can actually draw unwanted attention and create reptile phobic handling and delay for your package.

    I encourage shippers to label appropriately, not obnoxiously.
    Whats stopping people from labeling baby burms as ball pythons? If its labeled "properly" for a baby ball, they would have no reason to open it right? Its risky but it could work. Anyways im praying for you USAers for some reasonable laws. It makes sense somewhat to have laws but more different types of people need to be involved in the decision making process. GOOD LUCK.

  7. #6
    BPnet Veteran Homegrownscales's Avatar
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    Well hopefully a responsible good shipper would not do that. As that would only mess things up for everyone in the Long run. If they did get caught doing that I could imagine there being some serious fining going on.


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  8. #7
    BPnet Senior Member WingedWolfPsion's Avatar
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    Yes, you ARE liable for receiving a mislabeled package, if you know what the package contains before you open it.
    You WILL be fined under the Lacey Act if you accept such a package, and are caught.

    Don't buy from people who can't label their packages correctly--YOU might find yourself paying for it dearly, one day.
    --Donna Fernstrom
    16.29 BPs in collection, 16.11 BP hatchlings
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  9. #8
    Registered User SapphireTigress1's Avatar
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    Re: Question: Lacey Act labeling

    how can you be held liable if you didnt have any idea how the shipper would label the package? Not trying to be an ass, but legitimately curious. Would you have to prove that you contacted the shipper and requested proper labeling?

    What if the shipper lied or for some reason mislabeled or didnt label the package and you get it. Should you not open it? Report it? What should one do in that situation? I would feel obligated to open the package if authorities couldnt get there immediately or at least very very soon after recieving, as that cant be good for the critter inside!

    I've only received a snake via mail once, and i cant remember how it was labeled.
    Last edited by SapphireTigress1; 04-02-2012 at 07:13 PM.

  10. #9
    BPnet Veteran Slashmaster's Avatar
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    That seems very frustrating. What is one supposed to do with an unlabeled package? Decline to accept the package due to the law, and lose your money because the live arrival guarantee was voided? :/

    I've gotten three snakes in the mail...two were properly labeled and the last wasn't. I sent the seller an e-mail about having to label their shipments, but they didn't even give me the courtesy of a response or an apology.
    Last edited by Slashmaster; 04-03-2012 at 03:52 AM.

  11. #10
    BPnet Senior Member WingedWolfPsion's Avatar
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    Re: Question: Lacey Act labeling

    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireTigress1 View Post
    how can you be held liable if you didnt have any idea how the shipper would label the package? Not trying to be an ass, but legitimately curious. Would you have to prove that you contacted the shipper and requested proper labeling?

    What if the shipper lied or for some reason mislabeled or didnt label the package and you get it. Should you not open it? Report it? What should one do in that situation? I would feel obligated to open the package if authorities couldnt get there immediately or at least very very soon after recieving, as that cant be good for the critter inside!

    I've only received a snake via mail once, and i cant remember how it was labeled.
    Legally, you are obligated to refuse the package. No one is going to do that, because it may be a death sentence for the animal. This is why you shouldn't buy from people who mislabel. I personally blacklist people who mail me things illegally...there are plenty of other people out there with gorgeous animals who are willing to obey the law, and I don't want the liability of accepting mislabeled packages.

    Perhaps if they lose enough business, they'll get the message, and stop breaking the labeling laws.

    There are only two real reasons for a shipper to mislabel: 1) They're using a shipping service that doesn't accept snakes, or aren't certified to ship them.
    2) They believe the animal will be safer if they don't label the box, since there are some reptile-phobic people out there.

    The only DOAs I have ever had came from a shipper who did not label the box correctly. It's a horrible thing to see, and I definitely don't want a repeat. I have specifically asked shippers to label packages correctly, and when I received them, they weren't. Those people don't deserve anyone's business.

    There is a slim chance that someone might abuse a live animal shipment, but there is a MUCH greater chance of a package that is not labeled being roughly handled, resulting in the death of the animal. For what...to save a couple of bucks using UPS instead of Fed Ex? NOT worth it.

    We have to demand better behavior, as a community.

    Correct labeling is easy: Mark the outside of the box with 'live harmless reptiles'. Put a note on the top that says additional information is under the shipping label. Inside the plastic shipping label sleeve, include a card or paper that lists the number of animals, the taxonomic name, and the common name.
    Some people place this on top inside of the box, but why require inspectors to open the box, if they don't have to? The wording is a bit ambiguous, but seems to say that the information should be easily accessible to inspectors without their having to open the box, so under the shipping label, in the label sleeve, seems like a more suitable choice to me.
    --Donna Fernstrom
    16.29 BPs in collection, 16.11 BP hatchlings
    Eclipse Exotics
    http://www.eclipseexotics.com/
    Author Website
    http://donnafernstrom.com
    Follow my Twitters: WingedWolfPsion, EclipseMeta, and EclipseExotics

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