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Introduced Version House Bill 3269 History

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hb3269 intr
H. B. 3269


(By Delegates Mahan and Overington)
[Introduced March 25, 2005; referred to the
Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources then Finance.]




A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §20-2D-1, §20-2D-2, §20-2D-3, §20-2D-4, §20-2D-5, §20-2D-6, §20-2D-7, §20-2D-8, §20-2D-9, §20-2D-10, §20-2D-11, §20-2D-12, §20-2D-13, §20-2D-14, §20-2D-15 and §20-2D-16, all relating to establishing a system for issuing permits for the rehabilitation of orphaned, sick and injured wildlife ; setting forth a purpose for the legislation; defining certain terms; establishing qualifications and duties of rehabilitators; providing for the issuance of permits by the Director of Division of Natural Resources; requiring certain standards of treatment and housing; listing criteria for revocation of permits; and providing that the Director of the Division of Natural Resources may propose certain legislative rules.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §20-2D-1, §20-2D-2, §20-2D-3, §20-2D-4, §20-2D-5, §20-2D-6, §20-2D-7, §20-2D-8,
§20-2D-9, §20-2D-10, §20-2D-11, §20-2D-12, §20-2D-13, §20-2D-14, §20-2D-15 and §20-2D-16, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2D. WILDLIFE REHABILITATION.

§20-2D-1. Purpose.
The purpose of this article is to establish reasonable standards for the rehabilitation of orphaned, sick and injured wildlife, including wild animals and birds and to establish a permit system and other criteria for issuing permits to individuals to provide for the care, treatment and release of orphaned and debilitated wildlife obtained by those individuals or received from other parties. The permit process is designed to provide for the participation of selected volunteers to the maximum extent possible and to ensure that all persons engaged in rehabilitation of wildlife are qualified, undergo periodic training, house animals and birds under proper conditions, provide a high level of humane care for animals and birds, and are protected as much as is possible from injury caused by animals and birds or from contracting disease that may be carried by animals and birds.
§20-2D-2. Limitations.
Nothing in this article is intended to authorize ownership or possession of wildlife for purposes other than rehabilitation and release or to authorize any person with a wildlife rehabilitation permit to practice veterinary medicine.
§20-2D-3. Definitions.
(a) "Advisor" means a master class permit holder who has volunteered to provide counsel and to serve as a mentor for apprentice class permit holders.
(b) "Applicant" means a person who applies for a West Virginia Department of Natural Resources wildlife rehabilitation permit.
(c) "Big game" means deer, elk, bear and boar.
(d) "Continuing education and training" means instruction, courses of instruction, study guides, or other materials determined by the Director to be acceptable for use by wildlife rehabilitation permit holders to satisfy the requirements for renewal of permits upon expiration.
(e) "Director" means the Director of the Division of Natural Resources or the Director's designated employees or other agents.
(f) "Division" means the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
(g) "Facilities" means equipment, housing, or other shelter used in, or necessary for, the rehabilitation of wildlife.
(h) "Federal permit" means a permit for the rehabilitation of migratory birds issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
(i) "In-shelter assistant" means a person designated by apprentice, or master permit holders to assist permit holders with basic care and feeding of animals and birds undergoing rehabilitation in the facility of the permit holder.
(j) "Nonreleasable wildlife" means wildlife that cannot be released because of a permanent injury, degenerative physical condition as a result of illness, or habituation to humans that would significantly reduce the chance of the animal surviving in the wild.
(k) "Permit" means a wildlife rehabilitation permit issued by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources as provided in this article.
(l) "Permit holder" means a person who possesses a valid apprentice or master wildlife rehabilitation permit issued by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources.
(m) "Public exhibition" means a display to the general public of wild animals and birds undergoing rehabilitation, either on the permit holder's premises or elsewhere.
(n) "Transport" means the act by a permit holder of causing or attempting to cause wild animals to be carried or moved other than within the premises of a permit holder.
(o) "Volunteers" mean persons who are experienced with wildlife rehabilitation and are designated by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources to assist with the process of issuing wildlife rehabilitation permits to individuals.
(p) "Wildlife rehabilitation" means the process of rescuing, raising and arranging for veterinary medical care of orphaned, sick, displaced, or injured wild animals and birds with a goal of releasing them back to their natural habitat.
(q) "Wildlife rehabilitator" means a person who has a valid Division of Natural Resources apprentice or master class wildlife rehabilitation permit issued by the Division.
§20-2D-4. Federal permits.
A permit holder authorized to rehabilitate migratory birds under a department permit must also possess a valid United States Fish and Wildlife Service special purpose rehabilitation permit. Other rehabilitation activities may also require a federal permit including a permit to work with endangered species. Issuance of a permit by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources does not exempt the permit holder from the permit requirements of federal law. A permit holder may not practice veterinary medicine as defined by law unless he or she is licensed as a veterinarian.
§20-2D-5. Wildlife rehabilitation permits.
Except for every person with a permit issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to rehabilitate migratory birds and every person providing verifiable proof of four years similar experience in wildlife rehabilitation in this state who pays a fee of twenty-five dollars therefor shall be issued a master class permit by the Director of the Division of Natural resources on the effective date of and as provided by this article, no person shall rehabilitate a wild animal or bird without a permit from the Director of the Division of Natural Resources. A person with a rehabilitation permit may capture, receive, possess, transport, or transfer an orphaned, sick, or injured wild animal or bird for purposes of rehabilitation according to conditions of the permit. Permits may only be issued to residents of West Virginia except when the Director of the Division of Natural Resources determines that there are special circumstances where the interests of wildlife rehabilitation in this state are served by issuing permits to nonresidents. Nonresidents must meet the same permit requirements as residents.
The Director of the Division of Natural Resources may restrict the rehabilitation of certain species of animals and birds, either statewide or in certain geographic areas, as needed due to disease, overpopulation, or other limiting factors. The permit may be limited to certain species if deemed to be in the best interest of the wildlife resource, or upon request of the applicant.
No person may be authorized to have both a game farm license and a wildlife rehabilitation permit at the same time.
§20-2D-6. Permit classes.
There are two classes of wildlife rehabilitation permits, as follows:
(a) Apprentice class -- An apprentice class permit holder must: Be at least 18 years of age; have experience at handling and caring for animals and birds according to criteria established by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources; pass a written test for the apprentice class with a score of at least eighty percent; maintain facilities as required by this article; identify a licensed veterinarian who has agreed to assist and consult with the applicant on the treatment and care of animals and birds being rehabilitated; and be advised by a master level permit holder.
An apprentice class permit holder may: Possess an orphaned, sick, or injured wild bird or animal up to forty-eight hours for transport to another apprentice or master class permit holder authorized to possess for rehabilitation the particular bird or animal, or to a licensed veterinarian or after consultation, not more than forty-eight hours of possession of an orphaned, sick, or injured wild bird or animal, to receive direction for further care from a master class permit holder or veterinarian; provide emergency care for a sick or injured wild animal or bird designated on the permit and either transport within forty-eight hours to a master class permit holder authorized to possess for rehabilitation the particular animal, or to a licensed veterinarian or after consultation, not more than forty-eight hours of possession receive direction for further care from a master class permit holder or veterinarian; and, possess for rehabilitation only healthy orphaned wild animals and birds.
An apprentice class permit holder may not possess for rehabilitation any species of endangered or threatened wild animal or bird other than for transport for emergency care and may not possess for rehabilitation any species of bird belonging to the orders Falconiformes (hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey and falcons) and Strigiformes (owls.)
An apprentice class permit holder may only possess mammals for rehabilitation deer and those belonging to the orders Lagomorpha (rabbits and hares) and Rodentia (squirrels, pocket gophers, rats, mice, moles, lemmings, beaver and porcupine).
An apprentice class permit holder may designate no more than two persons as in-shelter assistants who may work in the facility of the permit holder to assist with care and feeding of animals and birds being rehabilitated. The apprentice class permit holder is responsible for notifying the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, in writing, of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of in-shelter assistants.
(b) Master class. -- A master class permit holder must: Be at least 21 years of age; have been an apprentice class permit holder for at least two years; as an apprentice class permit holder, have demonstrated ongoing animal rehabilitation activities and successfully completed continuing education and training; pass a written test for the master class permit holder with a score of at least eighty percent; maintain facilities as required by this article; and, identify a licensed veterinarian who has agreed to assist and consult with the applicant on the treatment and care of animals and birds being rehabilitated.
A master class permit holder may: Possess an orphaned, sick, or injured wild animal or bird up to forty-eight hours for transport to an apprentice or master class permit holder authorized to possess for rehabilitation the particular animal or bird, or to a licensed veterinarian; provide emergency care for a sick or injured wild animal or bird and transport within forty-eight hours to another master class permit holder authorized to possess for rehabilitation the particular animal or bird, or to a licensed veterinarian; possess for rehabilitation healthy orphaned, sick, or injured wild animals and birds; serve voluntarily as an advisor of apprentice permit holders: Provided, That master class permit holders who desire to serve as advisors to apprentice class permit holders must: Submit a written request to the Director of the Division of Natural Resources requesting designation as an apprentice advisor; and, have experience rehabilitating the species of animals and birds that apprentice class permit holders are allowed to possess.
§20-2D-7. Permit requirements.
Applicants for apprentice level permits must be able to demonstrate reasonable experience and skills at handling and caring for animals and birds. The applicant may meet this requirement if he or she:
(a) Holds a degree in veterinary medicine, veterinary technology, or animal science;
(b) Has experience working with a practicing veterinarian or at a publicly owned or operated zoo, university animal clinic, animal shelter, or wildlife rehabilitation clinic;
(c) Has experience working with an individual licensed as a wildlife rehabilitator, including hands-on experience with animals and birds; or
(d) Has other verifiable experience in caring for animals and birds.
§20-2D-8. Examination.
The applicant must obtain a score of at least eighty percent on a supervised examination provided by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources. An applicant who fails the examination must wait a minimum of six months before retaking the examination.
The applicant must have on the premises adequate facilities to carry out wildlife rehabilitation activities. Adequate facilities include types of cages, cage sizes, and other facility criteria as prescribed by the minimum standards of the National Wildlife Rehabilitator's Association or the International Wildlife Rehabilitators Council. All classes of wildlife rehabilitation permit holders, except licensed veterinarians, must notify the Director of the Division of Natural Resources the licensed veterinarian consultant who will advise and assist permit holders in the care and treatment of wild animals and birds. The agreement with a licensed veterinarian must be specifically set out in a letter on letterhead with the veterinarian's original signature and included in the original permit request. Apprentice class wildlife rehabilitation permit holders must have a master class wildlife permit holder as an advisor. The agreement with a master class wildlife permit holder must be specifically set out in a letter on letterhead with the veterinarian's original signature and included in the original permit request.
§20-2D-8. Application.
Written application for wildlife rehabilitation permits shall be made on the form provided by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, shall be accompanied by a fee of twenty-five dollars and contain the following information:
(a) The name, address, telephone number and date of birth of the applicant;
(b) The address of the proposed wildlife rehabilitation activity or facility;
(c) A detailed description and clear photographs of the applicant's facilities, including numbers and sizes of cages and other pertinent information as requested by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources;
(d) A description of educational background related to animal biology, veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation and two letters of reference from people who know the applicant describing the applicant's experience with care of wildlife;
(e) A description of experience and training related to wildlife rehabilitation, including a compilation of the types of department wildlife rehabilitation permits possessed in the past and the duration of the permit;
(f) Certification from the Director of the Division of Natural Resources that the applicant has obtained a score of at least eighty percent on a supervised examination provided by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources for the class of rehabilitation permit requested;
(g) The name, address and telephone number of the licensed veterinarian who has agreed to assist and consult with the permit holder on the treatment and care of animals and birds being rehabilitated;
(h) For applicants for apprentice level wildlife rehabilitation permits, the name, address, telephone number and Division rehabilitation permit number of the master class permit holder who has agreed to serve as an advisor for the applicant;
(i) The types of wildlife the applicant desires to rehabilitate (mammals, passerine birds, or all species) allowed by the permit level applied for;
(j) An agreement to comply with the requirements of this article; and
(k) The original letter of agreement with a licensed veterinarian or master class permit holder must be specifically set out in a letter on letterhead with the veterinarian's or master class permit holder's original signature and included in the original permit request.
§20-2D-9. Inspection and issuance.
After receipt of the application for a rehabilitation permit, and a determination by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources that the applicant has satisfied all requirements for a permit, the Director of the Division of Natural Resources may inspect the applicant's facility.
§20-2D-10. Permit not transferable.
A permit issued under the provisions of this article may not be transferred to another person.
§20-2D-11. Record keeping and reporting requirements.
All permit holders shall retain complete and current records on forms provided by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources of any animal or bird to come into the possession of the permit holder under the provisions of this article. These records must be updated within twenty-four hours of receipt of an animal or bird needing rehabilitation. All permit holders shall submit a report of his or her annual activities to the Department by the thirty-first day of January of the following year. Permit holders are required to retain records for three calendar years and make the records available for inspection by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources at reasonable times.
§20-2D-12. Examination, continuing education and training.
The Director of the Division of Natural Resources shall establish examinations for initial issuance of each class of permit and shall appoint a committee to include two wildlife rehabilitation permit holders, a veterinarian and a designee of the Director to establish requirements for continuing education and training needed for renewal of permits. These requirements must be fully met before permits may be renewed.
Persons experienced with wildlife rehabilitation may be designated by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources to: Assist in the development of examinations and continuing education and training materials; assist in the administration of examinations for various levels of permits: Conduct continuing education under direction of the Director of the Division of Natural Resources; and consult with the Director of the Division of Natural Resources regarding the wildlife rehabilitation permit process.
§20-2D-13. General provisions regarding wildlife rehabilitation.
Permit holders may capture orphaned, sick or injured animals and birds or receive animals and birds from others for purposes of rehabilitation. Permit holders may not import or accept animals and birds for rehabilitation from outside West Virginia, except as may be permitted by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources. The Director of the Division of Natural Resources shall be notified immediately of the receipt of a threatened or endangered species by a permit holder.
Animals and birds being rehabilitated shall have contact with the permit holder or designated in-shelter assistants only to the extent necessary for adequate care and treatment. Animals and birds may not be habituated to humans, tamed, used as pets or used in inappropriate ways. Mammals being rehabilitated may be housed only with others of the same species. Public exhibition of animals and birds being rehabilitated is prohibited. Transfers of animals and birds being rehabilitated may be made to the same level or to higher level permit holders and, in the case of master permit holders, to lower level permit holders, when in the judgment of the permit holder after discussion with the permit holder's master class advisor or veterinarian consultant, it is determined that a transfer would result in improved care of the animal and the permit holder is authorized to possess the animals and birds transferred.
Costs incurred by the permit holder for rehabilitation activities are the responsibility of the permit holder only. Permit holders who are not veterinarians may not charge a fee for rehabilitating animals and birds. Permit holders may not delegate to others the authority granted in their permit except that permit holders may designate others as in-shelter assistants to assist with the care and feeding of animals or birds on the premises of the permit holder and under the direct supervision of the permit holder. When, in the judgment of the permit holder, after discussion with the permit holder's master class advisor or veterinarian consultant, an injured or sick animal has sufficiently recovered, or an orphaned animal is matured to the point where it has a reasonable chance to survive in the wild, the animal or bird shall be released immediately in suitable habitat as near to the point where the animal was captured as practical. Rehabilitated animals and birds are not to be transported across state lines for release or for any other purposes unless expressly authorized by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources. When authorized by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, animals and birds that are not sufficiently recovered from injuries or illnesses, or are not otherwise ready for release prior to the onset of cold weather, may be kept over winter and released in the spring. When, in the judgment of the permit holder, and on advice of the permit holder's master class advisor or veterinarian consultant, an injured, sick or orphaned animal or wild bird is incapable of surviving if released to the wild, the animal must be:
(a) Humanely euthanized under the direction of the veterinarian consultant;
(b) Turned over to the Director of the Division of Natural Resources; or
(c) Transferred as directed by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources: Provided, That upon application to, payment of the required fee and the issuance of a permit to a master class permit holder by the Director of the Department of Natural Resources, the master class permit holder may keep an injured, sick or orphaned animal or bird that is incapable of surviving if released to the wild, except for migratory fowl, in a roadside menagerie for the lifetime of the animal or bird.
Euthanizing a wild animal or bird may only be carried out by the most humane means possible by either the permit holder or veterinarian consultant and only by methods specifically prescribed by the veterinarian consultant according to criteria established by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Wildlife Rehabilitator's Association or the International Wildlife Rehabilitators Council. Except where it is necessary to relieve immediate pain, and in cases where recovery is highly unlikely, threatened or endangered species may be euthanized only on express approval of the Director of the Division of Natural Resources. Animals and birds that die of natural causes or that are euthanized must be buried, incinerated, rendered, or turned over to a person or institution that possesses a valid salvage permit from the Department and, in the case of migratory birds, a valid federal salvage permit. Threatened or endangered species or any parts thereof shall be disposed of only at the direction of the Director of the Division of Natural Resources. Live or dead animals or birds or any parts thereof shall not be sold, bartered, or given away.
(d) All fees collected shall be used to offset the additional administrative costs of the Division of Natural Resources made necessary in order to implement the provisions of this article.
§20-2D-14. Facilities and operating standards.
All facilities and procedures required for care, feeding, watering and exercising animals and birds, indoor and outdoor facilities, cages, pens, enclosures, or other areas shall be in accordance with common veterinary protocols and in compliance with the standards of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council minimum standards for wildlife rehabilitation.
§20-2D-15. Revocation of permits.
The Director of the Division of Natural Resources may at any time revoke all or part of a permit under the conditions in this part whenever the Director of the Division of Natural Resources has determined that a permit holder has failed to comply with provisions of this article or when it is necessary to protect the interests of the public, or to protect the wildlife covered by the permits. Except in an emergency, at least fourteen days prior to the effective date of the revocation the permit holder must be informed in writing of the nature of the revocation and of the conditions which, in the Director of the Division of Natural Resources's opinion, require the revocation. Within thirty days of mailed notice of revocation, the permit holder may apply for an amendment to the permit or to request a hearing before the Director of the Division of Natural Resources to contest the revocation, support the permit holder's proposed amendment, or both.
§20-2D-16. Rules.

The Director of the Division of Natural Resources may propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to train volunteers, called rehabilitators, to care for, protect and return injured wildlife to the wild.

This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.



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