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ACLU Considers Lawsuit Against the Pennsylvania Game Commission

In an article posted to the Outdoor Talk Network dated 9/6/03, Jim Slinsky reports that the ACLU is considering a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Game Commission for using what it believes to be unreasonably obtained search warrants to confiscate exotic animals from people whom the PGC believes should not have them.

The PGC finds justification for their actions in a 1988 law that states: "Exotic Wildlife permit: The phrase includes, but is not limited to, all bears, coyotes, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, wolves and any crossbreed of these animals, which have similar characteristics in appearance or features. The definition is applicable whether or not the birds or animals were bred or reared in captivity or imported from another state or nation."

Despite not being explicitly mentioned, the PGC has decided that the law also includes monkeys, serval, lemurs, and hedgehogs, and possibly other animals.

In contrast to the contentious 1988 law is one enacted in 1996 that defines a domestic animal this way: a “domestic animal is an animal maintained in captivity.”

Several people who have had their animals confiscated by the PGC via search warrants have formed a coalition to fight the Game Commission.

The ACLU is interested in this situation and as asking that anyone who feels that the PGC may have violated their rights to contact Paula Knudsen at 717-236-6827. Her email is pknudsen@aclupa.org


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