285 petitions

Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to Michael Surbaugh, BSA Innovation Team

Ask Boy Scouts of America to Promote Responsible Pet Ownership

The Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) Reptile and Amphibian Study Merit Badge requires scouts to “Maintain one or more reptiles or amphibians for at least a month. Record food accepted, eating methods, changes in coloration, shedding of skins, and general habits; or keep the eggs of a reptile from the time of laying until hatching; or keep the eggs of an amphibian from the time of laying until their transformation into tadpoles (frogs) or larvae (salamanders).” As an employee at a zoological institution, I find this requirement to be irresponsible. Instead of asking the boys to make an informed decision about a pet and care for it over its entire lifetime, the requirement implies that animals can be kept a short time and disposed of. Furthermore, if scouts choose the latter option, once the baby reptile or amphibian hatches, there is no mention of continuing care. Any animals released into the wild will likely be invasive and may damage local ecosystems and spread disease to native species. While there is an alternative to the requirement (scouts can visit a captive reptile or amphibian once a week for three months and make observations), it is cost-prohibitive for scouts to attend facilities that exemplify excellent care like zoos and aquariums. Potential "free" locations like commercial pet stores may not provide accurate or sound information about the reality of the expense and time commitment required for acceptable animal care. I am asking all animal-lovers, scientists, serious herpers, environmental educators, and anyone else who is concerned about the BSAs implication that pet ownership is anything less than a life-time commitment to join me in petitioning them to make the following change to the Reptile and Amphibian Merit Badge Requirements: 8. Do ONE of the following: a. Research common reptiles and amphibians that are kept as pets. Pick one you would like to learn more about and speak to a professional caretaker such as a zookeeper, aquarist or a responsible hobbyist or read a book about the best practices required to ensure a long, healthy life for your chosen species. Find and record the following information: How long does your chosen species typically live, and what is its maximum size? What diet is required, including any supplements, live food, or fresh produce needed for optimum health? What is the minimum size enclosure needed for the animal? What substrate, hides, and other equipment are required for the best care? Will your chosen species need a larger home as it grows over time? What are the ideal temperature and humidity ranges for the animal? What equipment is required to maintain them? What is the initial cost of the equipment and the animal? What are the long-term costs and time commitment of caring for your chosen species over the course of its entire life? Locate a local veterinarian that can care for your chosen species and ask about common health problems and potential costs involved for medical care. Report what you have learned to your merit badge counselor and explain why or why not you would like to keep the species as a pet and how you plan to ensure it gets the best care if you acquire your chosen species.       b. Choose a reptile or amphibian that you can observe at a local zoo, aquarium, nature center, or other such exhibit (such as your classroom or school). Study the specimen weekly for a period of three months. At each visit, sketch the specimen in its captive habitat and note any changes in its coloration, shedding of skins, and general habits and behavior. Find out, either from information you locate on your own or by talking to the caretaker, what this species eats and what are its native habitat and home range, preferred climate, average life expectancy, and natural predators. Also identify any human-caused threats to its population and any laws that protect the species and its habitat. After the observation period, share what you have learned with your counselor. The BSA is generally a very responsible organization, and I feel this change is in keeping with their values of being trustworthy, kind, and conservation-minded. Please join me in urging the BSA to make this common-sense change to an outdated requirement.

Melissa Halvorsen
554 supporters
Started 1 week ago

Petition to Mayor Cameron Smyth

Support for a Ferret Friendly Santa Clarita, CA

We need support for Ferret Legalization We, the ferret owners all around California, and all over the world humbly and respectfully ask the city of Santa Clarita to declare itself a Ferret Friendly City and publicly support the decriminalization of ferret ownership in California.  We take this unusual step because no one in our state government (and this is a state issue) will give us assistance or explain the reason for banning domestic ferrets in the first place. A Misdemeanor to own a ferret and a 30 year battle.  Ferrets have been illegal in California since 1933. It is currently a misdemeanor carrying $1,000 fine, up to 6 months in jail and confiscation of the pet, to own a ferret throughout the state. For almost 30 years ferret owners in California have been working hard to legalize the domestic ferret. This house pet is currently legal in 48 states and none of these states report ferrets having an impact on the local wildlife.  We have taken our issue to politicians on all levels and the Fish and Game Commission. We had hope that the new commission would support this obvious and logical issue. This year we pushed two petitions for regulation change which the Commission heard and rejected.  The first was to remove ferrets from the prohibited species list. When that was denied we requested that the Fish and Game Commission resume issuing permits for ferrets as they had done for neutered male ferrets prior to 1985. Fish & Game rejected both.  For the past 13 years we have not been able to find a legislative sponsor. We have met many who are sympathetic to the cause but will not take on the issue. People are still suffering from this law. People can’t move to California if they have ferrets. This especially affects people in the military who get stationed at one of our many bases.  Many don't feel safe getting legal medical care for their pets when they need it.  There is a lot of stress owning this house pet in California. Ferret owners have to hide their pets from the Police, Fish & Game, and their neighbors.  Certain security clearances, licenses & even foster parent status cannot be obtained if someone owns a ferrets. All politics are local. The city of Santa Clarita can stand with La Mesa and make a very symbolic statement and perhaps get this in front of a legislator by declaring Santa Clarita a Ferret Friendly City. 

Angel City Ferret Club
462 supporters