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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the
May 2008 edition of the GliderVet News.
This month, our whole newsletter will be devoted to legal issues and
Sugar gliders are not legal in all states in the U.S. We will
we should all know as part of this community and things that we can do
to help preserve our privileges as sugar glider keepers.
While sugar gliders are legal to keep in captivity in the U.S., your
state, county or city laws may override that legalized right.
Why is it important for you to understand this this issue? Read
In my personal opinion I think the attempts to ban sugar glider
keeping are misplaced attempts to fix perceived problems that penalizes
the many for the irresponsible activities of the few.
I believe that if we help our elected government officials better
understand the nature of sugar gliders and offer creative solutions to
actual problems or anticipated problems, we have a realistic
opportunity to see that all American citizens have their rights
preserved to live the sugar glider dream.
This is a fat topic, so it is all that we will be discussing this
month. Even if you live in a legal community, please read anyway,
because you never know when a local government is going to have a knee
jerk reaction that affects your rights and the well being of the
animals that reside in your home.
Just ask the citizens of St Paul MN. Read on for the rest of the
We will start on a positive note and see what happens when elected
officials understand exactly how threatening a sugar glider is
The State of Georgia is on the edge of reversing a law which has for
many years prohibited sugar gliders as pets!
Changes in laws can go both ways and in very recent months we’ve seen
this. So while we give kudos to the State of Georgia, we will be
looking at the other side as well and giving BOO-dos to the City of St
Please remember that this newsletter is intended to express the
wishes of the whole sugar glider community.
Every article published in this newsletter is a result of someone just
like you taking the time to write us with thoughts, ideas, stories and
Send your comments to us here.
If you ever want to find earlier issues of GliderVet News, you can access our
archives here. Fun pics of sugar gliders
sent in by our customers are found here.
If you are looking for sugar glider tested and approved products, check out our
ever expanding store here.
Are you new to sugar gliders or just in the early stages of trying to decide
if one is right for you? Questions you can ask yourself to help make this
very important and long term decision are here.
A very confusing area for those considering glider ownership (and for
some current owners too!) is diet. See what our vet has to say here.
And if you decide that a sugar glider (or two!) would become future members of
your household, then you might want to check out Arnold's great deals on starter kits,
with or without cages.
Kudos to the State of Georgia
We’ve been keeping close tabs on recent events in the State of Georgia
and it seems that the State is a Governor’s signature away from passing
legislation that will legalize sugar gliders.
Georgia is one of the four Continental U.S. states that has had a law
banning sugar gliders as pets, but it looks like that is all about to
Sen. John Bulloch took a creative, fun approach to legalizing sugar
gliders - he
brought one into legislative chambers! Here’s a link to
May I humbly suggest this is a great example of what could be done in any
legislative setting from the State down to City Council. People often
simply don't understand what they can't experience!
Bulloch's bill has been drafted and has now passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The measure was submitted to the Governor’s office on April 10, 2008. You can follow
events surrounding this effort by going directly to the State of Georgia General Assembly official state website
This link automatically searches the legislative database for the
"sugar glider". Short of the Governor’s refusal to sign off on
this bill, residents of Georgia should be able to enjoy the company of
sugar gliders soon!
If you were a part of this effort in Georgia and have any advice, samples of
letters you wrote, etc. please let me
know and we will make this information available to the sugar glider
BOO-dos to the City of St Paul
by Lisa (with an assist from Jon B)
Hey Lisa, Arnold, and the gang,
I was reading through your newsletter and I noticed that in the
Miami/ West Palm Beach area there was an unfavorable news story about
our little friends.
I was surprised to see that it is not just happening here in
Minnesota! That's right, Sugar Gliders are getting bad press here
too, and by what I have heard it was a very similar situation with what
you in FL have experienced.
Unfortunately gliders lost the battle in St. Paul, and are now banned
Lucky for me I live in Minneapolis, but I still worry about the talk
that has been going around.
I have been informing people about everything that is wrong when they
express concern towards myself, Bowser, and Lema, and everyone agrees
that St. Paul did the wrong thing.
If you desire to read the local story, here's
a link to it. I just hope that people get smarter about purchases and wise up on the
news with Sugar Gliders, because I would be devastated if I ever had to give my babies up.
I couldn’t agree more with your point of view and after reading the
article, I really think this shows just how uninformed, knee jerk
reactions can happen.
It states in the article that the City of St Paul officials contacted
Australian officials to discuss the matter.
Where this approach fell severely short is that all animals indigenous
to Australia are illegal to keep as
pets! Australia does not single out particular species, they’ve
banning keeping any indigenous animals as pets. So as I’ve said last
month, it’s like asking a vegetarian how to cook a steak.
I’m going to discuss this issue a bit more in the last article of this
month’s newsletter, but understanding the problem is at the heart of
solutions. In this particular Miami situation, the problem is
very simply defined as spontaneous purchases of sugar gliders.
The answer is not in stripping the rights away from everyone because a
single vendor and their buyers created “news.”
The answer is in controlling spontaneous purchases.
There are many ways to do this. One simple method would be to
legislation similar to some gun laws. You make the commitment to
you have a three day waiting period before you get the “goods.”
It pains me to categorize sugar gliders as goods, but a three day
waiting period makes sense in making big purchases.
At the time of purchase, the intended buyer would have a three day
right of rescission; perhaps fill out a registration form to register
the animals with the local or state authorities.
The registration form would include information about the seller’s USDA
license as well as local licenses that the
community / state would require as well, thus prohibiting vendors from
selling without appropriate licenses.
Most importantly, people who’ve just learned about sugar gliders for
the first time and got caught up in the moment of a good sales pitch
and a beyond adorable critter would be forced to “sleep on it” for a
An excited sugar glider wannabe would likely take that three day
waiting period as a time to learn.
Most would take the time to go online, get a book or do something that
feeds into their new pet enthusiasm.
It gives people time to “sleep on it” to increase the likelihood that
they are making a well informed decision.
This would remedy the City of St Paul’s concerns without taking rights
away from their citizens.
I think it was a very foolish knee jerk reaction of the part of the
City of St Paul.
Legislation should encourage responsibility and accountability, but
I think the City of St Paul treated it’s citizens like small children
rather than responsible tax paying adults.
How we can affect sugar glider laws as a community
There are really only two reasons why laws banning animals should
ever come into play.
I think if we understand the alleged logic of why legislators are
compelled to draft and pass such laws, we will better equip ourselves
to educate those legislators to pass laws that solve the problem
without stripping rights from the majority of exotic pet keepers that
do it well.
In trying to understand why such laws exist, I believe there are two
primary concerns our elected officials should be asking themselves in
* Does the animal in question pose a health threat to people?
* Does the animal in question pose a threat to the environment or ecology of the elected officials’ jurisdiction?
Once we get past these two questions, if the government still passes
laws that ban sugar gliders, I think all they are doing is trying to
take an easy way out of solving problems or perceived problems by just
But as Americans, don’t we expect our government to keep our freedoms
Do any of us really want the government making decisions about what I
consider “low level” issues and issues that the government
representatives probably know very little about?
Personally I would rather our government focus on the big picture
and issues that are more universal in scope rather than having them
spend taxpayer time and money on worrying about what type of pets we
keep, that is as long as the first two questions are adequately
I’m not, after all, encouraging situations that endanger people or the
That would be rather short sighted in the scheme of things.
Let’s look at an example of question number one. Several years
ago, prairie dogs were found to be potential carriers of a disease
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease and there had not been a reported
outbreak in the U.S. prior to the prairie dog incident. So now
keeping prairie dogs as pets has been made illegal. Was this the
According to statistics that I found on a Center for Disease control
website, in Africa 1 to 10 % of those people infected with monkeypox
Based upon this information alone, I can see why prairie dogs had been
singled out and illegalized.
But I still had unanswered questions. Is there a vaccine that
could be given to prairie dogs that would eliminate the possibility of
Are the statistical deaths so high because of a lack of access to good
nutrition and health care in Africa?
In doing further research, there is no medical treatment available for
So in my opinion, this is probably a good law as there does not appear
to be a reasonable method to assure human safety in keeping prairie
dogs as pets.
Is there any such risk with sugar gliders? There are no known diseases
that sugar gliders are likely to carry that are life threatening to people
caring for them.
I’m OK with laws that ban animals that pose a threat to humans, but
in spite of my feelings, there are people allowed to keep poisonous
snakes, alligators, poisonous frogs, spiders, reptiles etc? Sugar
gliders pose no such threats and this should not be a basis for
illegalization, especially in light of the precedence set with animals
that are clearly a threat to humans still being legal under certain
The second big question that I assume lawmakers consider is the
effect on the environment.
I always felt this may be part of the reason sugar gliders were deemed
illegal to keep in Georgia and California.
Both of these states depend heavily on farm commodities to support
But, ahem, so does Florida, the Carolinas, all gulf coast states, all
the Midwest states, maybe even all states to some degree.
But, alas, states are allowed to make such decisions for their
Other states illegal to own sugar gliders are Massachusetts and
While sugar gliders could likely proliferate in parts of California and
Georgia if released into the wild, there is no way these sub-tropical
inhabitants could ever survive the harsh winters in Pennsylvania and
Why is this even a law in those states? There is no sound basis
for the law to exist.
Even if there was a substantiated environment threat, the key word to this threat is proliferation.
Can the animals survive in the climate of that community? Can they breed and proliferate as well?
OK, say the answer to both of these questions is yes. Isn’t
there a super simple solution to this?
Let sugar gliders be kept as pets, but require that all males are
If you cannot legally keep intact males, unless a qualified and
licensed breeder, how can the animals possibly procreate?
Therefore they cannot be a threat to the environment! So pass a
law that requires sterilization of the male sugar gliders and be done
This would be a better law than a law forbidding ownership
altogether, because some people are going to do it anyway.
What you end up with is a lot of animals that are kept illegally and
because people are afraid of being turned in, they will not maintain
proper vet care for their
pets and cannot sell unwanted babies. So they release them into
the wild and the very thing the law was intended to
address causes people to do the thing they are not supposed to do.
Why? Because the law makes it intimidating to advertise
animals in the paper, or otherwise transfer ownership of animals
without the dreaded cloud of large fines, animal confiscation,
What is needed are better educated law makers.
In the case of Georgia, one of the Senators actually brought a sugar glider into the Assembly.
This was a brilliant and expeditious way to address the issue. Once the Senate saw the little sugar glider taken from the
presenter’s pocket, they voted unanimously to change the law, encouraging legalization of sugar gliders in Georgia.
In the case of St Paul, the alleged concern was the perception that
an onslaught of unwanted animals would end up as wards of the local
area humane societies, because people were buying sugar gliders without
knowing enough about them. Is illegalization the answer?
I say that not only was that the wrong approach, but the approach in
itself could create the very thing that City Council Members were
trying to avert.
First off, were the citizens who’ve been glider keepers prior to the
passage of the law allowed to keep their pets?
Or are they now criminals under the new law? Where will their
sugar gliders go if they were not grandfathered in?
(If you are from the St Paul area or know someone who is, please write
to us and let us know the answer to this question.)
If the intention was to avert the possibility of unwanted animals in
shelters, then what are people supposed to do that already have sugar
If it were me, I would be really inclined to move because I’m not
giving up my babies.
But that is way easier said than done!
Laws should protect the rights of people and animals and there are
ways to do this without stripping all privileges.
Legislation that is reasonable will be more effective. The
legislation should affect all those who breed, sell and keep sugar
gliders in a fair manner that preserves the rights for those who treat
these animals responsibly and deny rights to those who do not.
We have a few ideas that we believe can further these causes and the
success of this venture will depend highly on community response and
our ability to effectively communicate with our law makers in a manner
that supports their efforts and incorporate real solutions to the real
and perceived problems that exist.
The concepts we will offer will of course be focused on sugar gliders,
but from my experience, most people who keep exotics like sugar gliders
tend to keep or have kept other unusual animals as well, so
these ideas will be further reaching than just for sugar gliders.
be hearing more from us in the future on this topic, and we hope you
us in the effort.
'Til next time, in good health for you and your gliders, we sign off
in appreciation of all of you who share great glider adventures with
----->=< ---->=< ---->=< ---->=<
Your resource for safety first, expert
advice on our sugar glider friends!
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That's it for this month's GliderVet Newsletter. I hope you liked what
we had to offer! If you have any stories, questions, pictures, suggestions
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