In response to a 2011 Ohio incident involving the release of more than 50 dangerous exotic animals, Governor McDonnell asked the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) to review Virginia’s policies and regulations on dangerous exotic animals. At the same time, Virginia Delegate Chris Peace and Virginia Senator Louise Lucas introduced new legislation to strengthen the regulations on ownership of these animals, generating substantial public comment.
On May 10,th 2012, DGIF hosted a meeting of government stakeholders with UVa’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) to discuss ways to engage stakeholders in a consensus process to develop potential recommendations around policies and regulations governing dangerous and exotic animals. DGIF contracted with the IEN to facilitate a process for engaging stakeholders and collaboratively developing recommendations around this issue.
IEN conducted a series of interviews regarding the issue in the summer of 2012 to help inform the process and identify issues. In the late summer and early fall 2012, DGIF and the Coordinating Team convened to create a framework from which a Workgroup of stakeholders could be created. IEN will facilitate the Workgroup of stakeholders to identify key issues, generate ideas and build consensus around recommendations for dangerous and exotic animal regulation and policy in Virginia. This phase has also involved broader public meetings, surveys, webinars, social media, and other methods for engaging a diverse stakeholder group and providing opportunities for greater input to the Workgroup. Finally, IEN will draft a report explaining Workgroup recommendations and highlighting areas of agreement as well as any remaining differences.
For more information, please visit the Virginia Dangerous Animals Website.