As of January 3, qualified businesses which provide rattlesnake avoidance training will be exempt from the San Diego County Code prohibition of possessing a venomous reptile.
A pair of 4-1 San Diego County Board of Supervisors votes, with Pam Slater-Price in opposition, approved the introduction and first reading October 31 and the second reading and adoption December 4.
“We need to find a way to balance the public’s safety with the desire for residents to have the choice for their animals to participate in these clinics,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
“I think amending the County Code to allow rattlesnake avoidance training makes good business sense. There are businesses that have been providing this service, and there is a demand for the training. With this extra layer of protection, everyone wins,” said Supervisor Bill Horn.
On September 11 the Board of Supervisors directed the county’s Chief Administrative Officer to work with County Counsel on options which would allow rattlesnake avoidance training in unincorporated San Diego County if the training is conducted by a fully-insured state-registered business in good standing with the state. The goal was to give residents the choice of having their animals participate in rattlesnake avoidance training while still protecting public safety.
The initial proposed ordinance required businesses to be a registered California Corporation or partnership; on October 31 the supervisors added sole proprietorships to the list of eligible businesses. The supervisors also amended the proposed $100,000 minimum liability insurance coverage to $1,000,000. The board left unchanged the staff-developed stipulation that an entity claiming to be exempt from the prohibition will need to provide proof of compliance with those two requirements upon the request of a peace officer including an animal control officer or a humane officer as well as a law enforcement officer.
Businesses possessing rattlesnakes must also comply with the county’s Zoning Ordinance as well as Federal and state laws.
Slater-Price cast her dissenting vote due to the opposition of animal groups, many of which told the supervisors that rattlesnake avoidance training will not necessarily reduce the risk of rattlesnake bites.
“We’re not here to debate whether or not this training is effective in preventing rattlesnake bites; this should be left to the trainers and dog owners and we have certainly heard from a significant number of people who support rattlesnake avoidance training,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “The intent is to make it easier for trainers to conduct their business in the county and let the public decide if they would like to participate.”