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Daytona (2003)- Another point of view  -  by Karl Betz

Well, the first ever Daytona venomous show has come and gone. Following the internet posts, I would say that the reviews have been mixed. A lot of people seemed put off by a number of things that I will attempt to address here.

1. It was, without a doubt, the very best venomous show that Florida has ever had. Yeah, yeah, I know it was the only one. Think about that for a minute! When the detractors are complaining and saying that it sucked, I would like to know what other Florida show they can compare it with.

2. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were there in numbers, enforcing regulations which, by any stretch of the imagination, are not new. Their interpretations may have been different than some people's but the regulations themselves were not new. The Florida F&WCC homepage has contact numbers and e-mail addresses in the event that you have any questions at all regarding their regulations. Take advantage of that availability and ask the questions BEFORE you are facing that officer trying to get your new animals out the door of the show.

3. There weren't very many vendors. True. But in defense of that, it WAS the first show and the venue was more restrictive than any of the other venomous shows on the East Coast. There were no venomoids allowed. Wild caught animals were discouraged and all of the animals had to at least appear to be healthy. Think back to some of the recent imports and fresh venomoid surgeries that have been evident at other shows. This was a step up towards providing quality animals. As a result, some of the best animals I have ever seen were at this show.

4. People complained about the requirement to have a Florida permit to take custody of their new purchases. Shipping containers and arrangements were available at the show. Is that the same as ordering the animal online? I don't think so. At the show, you got to see the animal you purchased and verify it was healthy before it went into the shipping container. If you didn't want to pay for shipping, out-of-state people can apply for Florida venomous permits. They are $100 each and require all of the documentation that a Florida resident is required to provide. It was just a matter of planning.

5. People that did take custody of their animals were inspected by F&WCC officers for proper transportation compliance. This was probably the single-most contested area of the show and where most of the tickets were written. There were some interpretational difficulties with the Florida regulation requirements. I will be quoting all of the applicable regulations at the end of this article so that there shouldn't be any question in anyone's mind for the next show.

6. No-one under 18 was supposed to allowed into the show. I am sure that one or two 16 year olds, perhaps with premature facial hair, made it in but this was enforced as strictly as possible. I thought it was an EXCELLENT idea. There were no kids running from table to table grabbing everything within reach on the tables. Maybe your children are well behaved in public but everyone else's certainly aren't.

7. Hank Molt promised a venomous show. He delivered.

8. Hank Molt promised quality animals. He delivered.

9. Hank Molt promised no venomoids. He delivered.

10. Venom 1 was on-site for the show. Not needed but there. Al Cruz and Ernie Jillson were awesome company and I, for one, was glad they were there.

11. I watched Hank run himself and his staff ragged trying to help everyone in every way. I am sure that some people weren't happy with the way things went. I can say that I have never seen a promoter personally work so hard to make sure everything went smoothly.
Is there room for improvement? Sure! But give credit where credit is due. Hank Molt promoted a venomous show in Florida and pulled it off. His staff, which included Randal Berry, Bobby Neal, Anja Buffalo, Jennie Smith, Steve Cartee, and several other hard-working folks worked long hard hours to make the show work for us. Not without a hitch, true, but they certainly opened the door. Does this mean that there will be a bunch of new venomous shows cropping up in Florida? I sincerely doubt it, considering all of the logistical problems that were caused by this one. Did it go well enough to warrant another show next year? Well, the answer to that would rest with Hank Molt and Wayne Hill. They were the two people facing most of the headaches. But from where I stand, I think they did a wonderful job and I hope that the Daytona Venomous Show is here to stay. Get your permit now! Study those regs and ask your questions now! Next year should be awesome!

The applicable Florida Statutes:

372.86 Possessing, exhibiting poisonous or venomous reptile; license required. - - No person, firm, or corporation shall keep, possess, or exhibit any poisonous or venomous reptile without first having obtained a special permit or license therefor from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as herein provided.

372.87 License fee; renewal, revocation. - - The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to issue a license or permit for the keeping, possessing, or exhibiting of poisonous or venomous reptiles, upon payment of an annual fee of $5 [raised to $100 as of 01 July 2003 - KHB] and upon assurance that all of the provisions of ss. 372.86 - 372.91 and such other reasonable rules and regulations as said commission may prescribe will be fully complied with in all respects. Such permit may be revoked by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission upon violation of any of the provisions of ss. 372.86 - 372.91 or upon violation of any of the rules and regulations prescribed by said commission relating to the keeping, possessing, and exhibiting of any poisonous and venomous reptiles. Such permits or licenses shall be for an annual period to be prescribed by the said commission and shall be renewable from year to year upon the payment of said $5 fee [raised to $100 as of 01 July 2003 - KHB] and shall be subject to the same conditions, limitations, and restrictions as herein set forth.

372.88 Bond required, amount. - - No person, party, firm, or corporation shall exhibit to the public either with or without charge, or admission fee any poisonous or venomous reptile without having first posted a good and sufficient bond in writing in the penal sum of $1,000 payable to the Governor of the state, and the Governor's successors in office, conditioned that such exhibitor will indemnify and save harmless all persons from injury or damage from such poisonous or venomous reptiles so exhibited and shall fully comply with all laws of the state and all rules and regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission governing the keeping, possessing, or exhibiting of poisonous or venomous reptiles; provided, however, that the aggregate liability of the surety for all such injuries or damages shall, in no event, exceed the penal sum of said bond. The surety for said bond must be a surety company authorized to do business under the laws of the state or in lieu of such a surety, cash in the sum of $1,000 may be posted with the said commission to ensure compliance with the conditions of said bond.

372.89 Safe housing required. - - All persons, firms, or corporations licensed under this law to keep, possess, or exhibit poisonous or venomous reptiles shall provide safe, secure, and proper housing for said reptiles in cases, cages, pits, or enclosures. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation, whether licensed hereunder or not, to keep, possess, or exhibit any poisonous or venomous reptiles in any manner not approved as safe, secure, and proper by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

372.90 Transportation.- - Poisonous or venomous reptiles may be transported only in the following fashion: The reptile, or reptiles shall be placed in a stout closely woven cloth sack, tied or otherwise secured. This sack shall then be placed in a box. The box shall be of strong material in solid sheets, except for small air holes, which holes shall be screened. Boxes containing poisonous or venomous snakes or other reptiles shall be prominently labeled "Danger - - Poisonous Snakes" or "Danger - - Poisonous Reptiles."

372.91 Who may open cages, pits, or other containers housing poisonous or venomous reptiles. - - No person except the licensee or her or his authorized employee shall open any cage, pit, or other container which contains poisonous or venomous reptiles.

372.92 Rules and regulations. - - The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may prescribe such other rules and regulations as it may deem necessary to prevent the escape of poisonous and venomous reptiles, either in connection of construction of such cages or otherwise to carry out the intent of ss. 372.86 - 372.91.

*Please note that the wording of these statutes allows the F&WCC to determine what constitutes safe caging. Everyone should ensure that they are within the intent of these regulations by submitting photographs/drawings/plans of their caging to the F&WCC for approval BEFORE coming to the show. A request for written approval of transportation caging may seem like overkill but that written approval could go a long way toward eliminating some of the problems vendors faced at the show. KHB

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