ALERT: Illinois turtle trap bill
Illinois Senate Bill 1890 (SB1890) allows for the use of traps to collect common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina). Not only will the use of these traps conflict with the intent of current laws (the Herptiles-Herps Act and the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act) by collecting other species of turtles besides the common snapping turtle, but many non-targeted turtles will be killed in these traps.

This is a conservation issue because traps do not know what kind of turtles are swimming into them. While the traps may be intended for common snapping turtles, other turtles will also be attracted to the bait and will be killed in the traps. The collection of some Illinois turtle species is illegal, as is the killing of those species which will occur with the use of these turtle traps. State-endangered species including the alligator snapping turtle, spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle, river cooter and yellow mud turtle, as well as the state-threatened smooth softshell, would likely all be killed in these traps. Hence why the use of turtle traps is currently illegal in Illinois. Currently, common snapping turtles may be taken only by hand, hook and line, or bow and arrow, except in the counties where bowfishing for common snapping turtles is not allowed.

Full details at

Take action at

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ALERT: Houghton, MI
The Houghton City Council has proposed an animal ordinance covering many species, including chickens and bees. There is a rather vague definition for “exotic animal” (see alert link) that could lead to enforcement on some commonly kept animals. Bird feeding and other restrictions are even included.
[Note: The definitions for “domestic pet” and “exotic animal” could be problematic since these definitions will mean different animals to different people and are open to the interpretation of law enforcement officers.]
There are some good components to the proposal but sensible, responsible owners of all types of animals should get involved. For example, there are limits to how many rabbits you can own so that could change to include dogs and cats as dog/cat limits are becoming commonplace with some cities making it illegal to own more than two dogs or cats.

Meeting time/date: 5:30 PM on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, City Center Council Chambers, 616 Shelden Avenue, Houghton, MI

Read the full alert with more details at

Facebook alert at
ALERT: Oregon Animal Program Ban
UPDATE 3/9/23: A hearing was scheduled for March 16 at 8:00 AM. This bill can now be easily opposed through the Oregon legislature website and we need people to do this so the Committee report shows more opposition than support. Click the link and OPPOSE now! Hearing testimony can be given virtually or in person but you must register before the hearing. Full details in our alert at
Oregon House Bill 3214 (HB3214) is sponsored by Representatives Zach Hudson and David Gomberg. HB3214 prohibits using certain animals (list below and even includes tortoises and small monitors) in “traveling animal acts,” which will include the educational outreach programs provided by many animal keepers. It authorizes the forfeiture of animals used in violations. Punishment is a maximum of six months imprisonment, a $2,500 fine, or both, plus legal seizure of your animals.
Regardless of what species are involved, this bill is unnecessary, redundant, and a waste of Oregon tax dollars. Animal welfare laws are already in place and measures like this bill only punish responsible citizens instead of actually penalizing criminals.
The unintended consequences are many. It is a ban on taking a Greek tortoise into a classroom for an educational program about turtles and tortoises. It is a ban on taking a dwarf monitor lizard into a library or to a Scout troop meeting for an educational show discussing reptiles.

Read more and take action at

Facebook alert at
ALERT: Illinois Animal Program Ban
UPDATE 3/10: The bill was sent (re-referred) from Judiciary-Criminal to the Rules Committee (Illinois Rule 19(a)). It may be reassigned or may just sit in the Rules Committee and "die."

Illinois House Bill 3695 (HB3695) is a broad-sweeping ban on educational animal outreach and other programs with any animal species not native to the United States. This bill amends the current law that forbids using elephants in such acts. Any program with these animals that “amuses, entertains, or benefits an audience” will be banned. Animal rights and pseudo-animal welfare groups will again feed the legislators false propaganda and misinformation, so we must do our job to educate legislators properly.
This bill bans much more than lions jumping through rings of fire. It is a ban on taking a Greek tortoise into a classroom for an educational program about reptiles. It is a ban on taking a ball python, a red-eyed tree frog, a parakeet, and a hedgehog into a library for an educational show discussing the differences between reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. It is a ban on llamas and any other non-traditional livestock at the State Fair or county 4-H fairs. Basically, if an animal non-native to Illinois is placed into a vehicle and taken to any location where someone will see it, other than a veterinarian in a private room, then it would become an illegal activity, and you are a criminal. You could receive a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for taking a leopard gecko into your child’s classroom for a presentation.


  1. This is a ban on any animal species non-native to the U.S. being transported and then viewed by any audience;
  2. the only exemption applies to programs in which the animal is not transported at a “non-mobile, permanent institution, or other facility;”
  3. violation penalty is up to a year in jail and $2,500 fine (Class A misdemeanor);
  4. This bill amends the current law (720 ILCS 5/48-11) which only applies to elephants but would include ALL non-native species and those of a “foreign character” if it passes.

Read the full alert and take action at

Facebook alert at
ALERT: Connecticut Animal Program Ban
UPDATE 3/10: The bill was held/tabled at today’s Committee meeting.

UPDATE 3/9: With short notice, HB5123 should be having a Committee vote tomorrow (3/10). This is a Committee Meeting and not a Public Hearing (which happened on Feb. 27). Any stakeholders should be emailing (again) and/or calling Committee member offices and asking them to vote NO on HB5123. You can find all Environment Committee members here: (click on Committee Membership)

UPDATE: A hearing (that lasted over twelve hours) was held on February 27 that contained a lot of testimony from both sides. USARK, USARK members, and others provided strong and logical arguments against the bill.

The Connecticut Animal Advocacy Caucus has introduced a traveling exotic animal performance ban (HB5123) again for the 2023 session with some slight differences from previous versions. The bill’s Statement of Purpose: “To prohibit the use of certain animals in traveling animal acts.” This will prohibit using certain animals (listed in our alert) in outreach programs with the assumption that inherent cruelty and abuse are present. There are no exceptions.

Full details, sample messaging, and more at

Facebook alert at
ALERT: Rhode Island Animal Program Ban
UPDATE: The Committee recommended that the bill be held for further study (i.e. it was tabled).

This bill had a hearing on March 2 at 4:00 PM. Room 101 in the State House, 82 Smith St., Providence, RI 02903.

Rhode Island House Bill 5703 (HB5703) is another animal program ban with broad-sweeping implications. HB5703 prohibits using any animal except “domestic animals, including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, and farm animals” in educational outreach and other programs. This is a ban on educational programs in classrooms, public libraries, at Scout Troop meetings, and more. Violators may be fined $50 to $500 per animal and up to 30 days imprisonment for each day in violation.

Read the full alert and take action at

Facebook alert at
ALERT: Texas
Texas House Bill 3482 amends current law and will have implications for some reptile keepers. HB3482 also affects mammal species classified as “dangerous wild animals” in Texas. It was introduced by Representative Chris Turner and has not been assigned to Committee. Please read the alert and understand that this is a change to the current law. All of the species are already regulated in Texas.
What HB3482 does:

  1. A permit cannot be issued if the species is banned in the city or county.
  2. Permits cannot be issued for regulated venomous snakes unless antivenom is available at a hospital within 50 miles of the location the snake is kept.
  3. Cities and counties will be notified when permits are issued.
  4. For dangerous wild animals, it adds that an agent or officer of the county or city may conduct a facility inspection (currently only state agents or veterinarians). This only applies to permit/file inspection for reptiles.
  5. NOTE: This bill does not ban or regulate any species not already covered under law.

We have species lists and links to current laws in our alert. Read the full alert at
ALERT: New Mexico Animal Program Ban
UPDATE 2/8: After a long debate and discussion, this bill was tabled a second time. It could return this session but hopefully, that is all for this year. Please keep sending your opposition letters! Thank you to everyone who voiced opposition. Your voices made a difference!
New Mexico Senate Bill 134 (SB134) is another “traveling animal act” ban with broad-sweeping implications. SB134 prohibits using any animal except “domesticated dogs, domesticated cats or livestock” in educational outreach and other programs. This is a ban on any "transport and display" of all non-domesticated animals, so that means school programs, fairs, Scout Troops, herp club meetings, and even reptile shows.

Full details at

Facebook alert at

YouTube video:
ALERT: Washington Animal Program Ban
UPDATE: This bill should be dead for this session as it failed to meet the deadline for passage through Committee.

SB5148 and HB1157 ban programs with thousands of species including ALL “snakes and reptiles,” ferrets, sugar gliders, and more. Unsuspecting Washingtonians do not know the ramifications of this misleading bill.

Full details, sample messaging, and more at

Facebook alert at
USARK Shirts are Available Online
Our shop is open at (or just click the "Shop" link in the menu) to purchase our current t-shirt (picture at the bottom of this newsletter).

This screen-printed, cotton/polyester blend shirt is extremely soft and wrinkle-resistant with a slightly modern fit (but true to size). U.S. domestic shipping is free! Plus, one USARK sticker per shirt is included.
Find A VetNeed a good herp veterinarian? The Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) can help. ARAV provides a free Find-A-Vet service at
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