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PROPOSED RULEMAKING

GAME COMMISSION

[58 PA. CODE CH. 137]

Wildlife

[33 Pa.B. 4680]

   To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its June 24, 2003, meeting, proposed the following amendment:

   Amend § 137.2 (relating to release of turkeys) to make the release of captive held wildlife without a permit or domestic dogs or cats into the wild unlawful.

   The proposed rulemaking will have no adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.

   The authority for the proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).

   The proposed rulemaking was made public at the June 24, 2003, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until October 3, 2003, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.

1.  Introduction

   The Commission is proposing to amend § 137.2 to make the release of captive held wildlife or domestic dogs or cats into the wild unlawful.

2.  Purpose and Authority

   Currently, the Commission has no laws or regulations that prohibit the release of captive held wildlife or domestic dogs or cats into the wild. Release of captive held wildlife and domestic dogs or cats into the wild raises a big concern in light of the possibility of disease spread. The recent outbreak of monkey-pox is a prime example. If animals carrying this or other diseases were released among our native wild animals, the impact could be devastating. These animals also impact our native species by direct predation and by competition for habitat. Amending § 137.2 would make the release of captive held wildlife or domestic dogs or cats into the wild unlawful.

   Section 2102(c) of the code (relating to regulations) directs that ''The Commission shall promulgate regulations concerning the transportation, introduction into the wild, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale or purchase of game or wildlife or the disturbing of game or wildlife in their natural habitat.'' Section 2102(a) of the code provides that ''The commission shall promulgate such regulations as it deems necessary and appropriate concerning game or wildlife and hunting or furtaking in this Commonwealth, including regulations relating to the protection, preservation and management of game or wildlife and game or wildlife habitat, permitting or prohibiting hunting or furtaking, the ways, manner, methods and means of hunting or furtaking, and the health and safety of persons who hunt or take wildlife or may be in the vicinity of persons who hunt or take game or wildlife in this Commonwealth.'' These provisions provide the statutory authority for the proposed rulemaking.

3.  Regulatory Requirements

   The proposed rulemaking will make the release of captive held wildlife or domestic dogs or cats into the wild unlawful.

4.  Persons Affected

   Persons who release captive held wildlife or domestic dogs or cats into the wild in this Commonwealth will be affected by the proposed rulemaking.

5.  Cost and Paperwork Requirements

   The proposed rulemaking should not result in additional cost or paperwork.

6.  Effective Date

   The proposed rulemaking will be effective on final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.

7.  Contact Person

   For further information regarding the proposed rulemaking, contact Michael A. Dubaich, Director, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.

VERNON R. ROSS,   
Executive Director

   Fiscal Note:  48-172. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 58.  RECREATION

PART III.  GAME COMMISSION

CHAPTER 137.  WILDLIFE

§ 137.2.  Release of [turkeys] animals.

   [It is unlawful to release turkeys into the wild without first obtaining a permit from the Commission. The permit applicant shall provide proof the turkeys to be released have been tested using procedures prescribed by the Department of Agriculture in 7 Pa. Code Chapter 15 (relating to control and eradication of pullorium disease) and have been found free of disease. If the turkeys to be released have been raised in this Commonwealth in accordance with 7 Pa. Code Chapter 15 and regularly tested under those regulations within 12 months of release, a permit is not required.] Except as otherwise provided, it is unlawful to release captive held or captive raised game or wildlife onto any lands, public or private, without first securing a permit from the Commission. Lawfully acquired mallard ducks, ringneck pheasant, bobwhite quail and chukar partridge may be released for dog training or hunting purposes. Domestic dogs (canis familiaris) and domestic cats (felis catus) may not be released into the wild.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 03-1838. Filed for public inspection September 19, 2003, 9:00 a.m.]



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