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FWC Legal Docs?

April 22, 2012 in Admin

Customer By Email (Linda bunnyflo) – 07/15/2011 11:25 AM
FWC, / Jason Marlow,

Please forward me a copy of the FWC Legal Section that allows, teaches or promotes the feeding of ” Domestic” “Live” “Rabbits” to Wild animals in Wildlife Rehab.
I would specifically like to read the exact details where FWC Permits the feeding Domestic Animals to Wild Animals at Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers.

Domestic Animal Definition: any animal that is not found to live in the wild or who is not a part of a natural wild animal diet.

Please note: that teaching wild bobcats to kill domestic rabbits is teaching them to hunt down domestic rabbits by Scent in the back yard of families and farms.

Captain Cindy Johnson, can you Please see that this information is sent to me ASAP, as I have requested to read this reference many times and have not received this information once since March 2011.
FWC Reference:
FWC Legal Section notes that the practice of feeding live prey items to carnivores undergoing wildlife rehabilitation, for the purpose of preparing the wildlife
for release to the wild, is a documented and acceptable industry procedure.


— On Mon, 7/25/11, Ask FWC wrote:

Response Via Email(Jason Marlow) – 07/25/2011 11:43 AM

Ms. Linda,

The reference to the “FWC Legal Section” refers to a group of attorneys and legal staff, so I will be unable to provide you with a copy of this document. As for providing you the information requested, I answered these questions in an email dated 07/08/11 and basically stated that we do not have specific regulations allowing this practice, yet do not have any preventing this practice either. Below is the response that I sent to you with the answer to your questions in parenthesis:

From: Marlow, Jason
Date: Friday, July 08, 2011 4:58:00 PM


I thought this was answered by staff.

According to these facilities FWC is supporting and promoting this practice of feeding live domestic rabbits to wild animals in rehab

(The FWC has no rules prohibiting the feeding of live prey to predators, which are in rehabilitation status and understands the need to mentor a predator’s natural instinct to self sustain by catching and eating prey).

Can you please advise on this protocol and if FWC is supporting, teaching or providing it, please send me these guidelines so that I may read them

(The FWC currently doesn’t have a protocol that specifically addresses the rehabilitation of bobcats. FWC understands that this is an acceptable industry practice, yet is not teaching or providing this in a written protocol).

If you have no such guidelines please explain why these people are not charged with animal cruelty under the florida animal cruelty statutes that I have previously sent FWC, domestic rabbits are clearly not a part of a wild animals diet or available in the wild

(First, I am not an attorney and this question should be asked to each State Attorney’s Office in each judicial circuit as they all would have to provide their opinion. Secondly, the feeding of live domestic rabbits systematically is no different than feeding live domestic rodents to predators. The fact is that rabbits are part of a bobcats diet and we have to consider what is reasonably available to rehabbers in order to “as close as possible” mimic their natural prey to prepare the wild animal for release. I will refer to the industry standard you provided “As the bobcat grows, provide it with larger mice, rats, or other prey it may encounter in its natural habitat.” I may mention that the rats that the industry uses are non-wild domestic rats. I will also add information
from the document you provided “To trigger the growing bobcat’s hunting instinct, introduce live prey regularly. Never feed a bobcat pet food. Several weeks before release, the bobcat must be put on a live-kill diet. The bobcat must be able to sustain its weight strictly on live kill.” I have spoken with both our Legal Staff and a prosecutor from the State Attorney’s Office that specifically deals with high profile animal cruelty cases and it is of their opinion that this in no way meets the criteria of the Animal Cruelty statutes.

I hope this answers your questions.

Captain Jason Marlow
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Division of Law Enforcement – Investigations / Captive Wildlife
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850-410-0656 Ext. 17106
850-519-6547 – Cell

In relation to your request for a link or document, the link to the rules that regulate the rehabilitation process is as follows: https://www.flrules.org/gateway/ChapterHome.asp?Chapter=68a-9
After going to the link, scroll down to 68A-9.006 FAC “Rehabilitation Permit” and open the rule document.

I hope this helps!
Florida Panther Society


Sent: Jul 1, 2011 6:48 AM
To: old-time-florida@earthlink.net
Subject: Fwd: Panther rehab guidelines

Attention: Stephen Williams

Can you please forward me a link or information .pdf on the Florida Panther Rehabilitation Feeding Guidelines? I would specifically like to review the information that recommends using domestic rabbits for live feedings.

Thank you in advance, Kathie

From: S.L.Willaims [mailto:old-time-florida@earthlink.net]
Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2011 11:13 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Panther rehab guidelines

Ms. Kathie;

I am unaware of any such guide lines, and suggest that you contact the non-game species officer of your districts Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. You might also ask the US Fish and Wildlife office out of Vero Beach as they administer federal regulations regarding permits to keep various species in captivity.

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