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  1. #1

    Default Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: Wisconsin

    1.) Is it animal cruelty (or some other crime) to adopt an animal and feed it to a carnivorous pet such as a snake?
    2.) Does it make any difference if the animal is humanely stunned or killed versus being live-fed to fight for its life?
    3.) Or, if there is an adoption contract where the terms state the pet isn't intended to be used as a feeder, is there come kind of breach of contract or acquiring the pet by deception that can be pursued (since the foster home would not have agreed to adoption if the person stated their intentions for the animal)?

    All of these are on the assumption the animal was intended to be a pet, as I am well aware that carnivorous pets need to eat, and they sell feeders or pre-killed food for that very reason.

    I'm not the one doing this or considering doing it. Quite the opposite, in fact. My girlfriend and I foster guinea pigs, and recently we got a chilling response to a friendly email we sent asking how they are settling in, where the person sent a picture of a snake, and indicated they fought bravely and squeal a lot, but he is satisfied with his purchase. In addition to the questions above, (4.) is there anything actionable here?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    Nt illegal and many snakes will not eat a dead rodent.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    How big and what species is the snake? If you are talking about feeding rats, mice, guinea pigs to the snake or any other species that is low on the food chain like rabbits or squalls, then nothing illegal is going on. Social media and PITA is another issue.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    How big and what species is the snake? If you are talking about feeding rats, mice, guinea pigs to the snake or any other species that is low on the food chain like rabbits or squalls, then nothing illegal is going on. Social media and PITA is another issue.
    PITA? I suspect you meant PETA although some may consider them a PITA.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    How big and what species is the snake? If you are talking about feeding rats, mice, guinea pigs to the snake or any other species that is low on the food chain like rabbits or squalls, then nothing illegal is going on. Social media and PITA is another issue.
    Boa constrictor, looks to be in the 5-6 foot range. So is there something different if it wouldn't be "low on the food chain" such as puppies or kittens?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    Boa constrictor, looks to be in the 5-6 foot range. So is there something different if it wouldn't be "low on the food chain" such as puppies or kittens?
    I am actually disappointed with the responses that you received. There are regulations regarding animals that are sold as pets, and what can be done with them. Those regulations vary greatly from state to state and sometimes even from locality to locality and you would need to do some googling to find the regulations for your state/locality. Someone who buys guinea pigs who have been offered as pets and uses them to feed snakes is a serious bottom feeder, but unless they have run afoul of a local or state regulation, they have not broken the law.

    In the future you might want to be more cautious about who you release a pet to. Its difficult to do sometimes but possibly an internet search would have shown that those particular people had an interest in snakes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    Whether we raise snakes or not, and whether we like it or not, large snakes that consume live feeder animals tend to require larger feeder animals. If you sell guinea pigs then, yes, you need to be careful that you're not selling them to snake owners. Owners of big snakes routinely feed them rats and rabbits and, if you search the Internet, you'll find that some feed them guinea pigs.

    At the same time, as guinea pigs have been known to get loose after a strike and attack the snake, causing severe injuries, vets often advise against using them as feeders.

    Wisconsin has general laws against the mistreatment of animals. If you use an animal as a feeder that is not customarily used as a feeder animal, neglect or abuse a feeder animal outside of the context of feeding it to a reptile, or use any live mammal as bait for fishing, you can be prosecuted for animal cruelty. I have not seen any authority for Wisconsin on the use of guinea pigs as feeders for snakes, but a local animal control officer should be able to advise.

    If there is a state that actually has regulations that treat an animal differently based upon whether it is sold as a feeder or as a pet, I would like to see those regulations.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    235

    Default Re: Adopted Pets Used As Feeders

    Full disclosure here, I'm one of those weird people who keeps and breeds snakes, including the giants like reticulated and burmese pythons, and anacondas.

    An adult guinea pig is not an appropriate meal for a boa constrictor as it will be too big for a 5-6 foot snake. Boas are also very prone to obesity and fatty liver disease, and guinea pigs are high in fat. Usually once a boa is eating half-pound feeders they are switched from rats to young lean meat rabbits, and even my biggest breeder females don't get a feeder that weighs more than a pound.

    Also the vast majority of snake keepers are responsible and would never get a pet rabbit or guinea pig as a feeder, as they don't know what medications, wormers, etc. the animal was given. Some of these can be deadly to reptiles. A pet typically has a higher price tag than a feeder so it's not cost-effective to buy live pets locally off of Craigslist or Facebook groups, or to adopt them from rescues, when you can get clean, safe feeders for $2/pound plus shipping delivered to your door.

    Finally, a live adult guinea pig or rabbit can seriously injure a large snake, and while I do really appreciate my exotic vet I don't care to see him all that often. So my large snakes all eat dead feeders (frozen thaw).

    Now, that's not to say that there aren't sick, twisted, jerks out there who find it humorous to toss a live feeder in with a snake and rub your nose in that fact, but fortunately they are few and far between.

    I agree with doing the internet search on prospective adopters. You may also want to join some of the snake and reptile-related Facebook groups for Wisconsin to see if prospective adopters are in them; we typically love to show off our critters and meet other herp-enthusiasts in the area.

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