Hello all...I just had the WILDEST experience I have had in my career as a Magician. Here is the story in short (well, sort of):
I was in the garage and heard a rustling noise in a cubby area, as I moved things to see what the noise was, I noticed there was a brown "something" there. At first, I thought it was a baby raccoon (as they are common here in the Carolina's). I took a closer look and it was actually a baby possum. It looked scared (of course), and I had an extra old animal carrier and managed to get the possum into the carrier. From there, I called the city Animal Control to come and pick it up, not knowing if it was carrying rabies or what. On the phone with them, I told them everything that had happened and told them what it was. They KNEW what it was before they sent someone out. 20 minutes later there is a knock on the door, and of course it is Animal Control. Here is where it gets a little "hairy". As of now, it is pouring rain here, so, I moved my doves from outdoors to indoors. Indoors to the garage area. That is why I heard the rustling noise. As some know, my doves are not all white (green, blue, yellow). So here comes the part that floored me:
I answer the door and we walk to the garage area. The Animal Control officer asks me how my doves got "that color". I told him how it was done. He flat out tells me its illegal to color ANY animal. I explained to him the ingredients were nothing more than what we eat, and he still insisted that it was illegal. (Reminder, he was there to pick up the possum!!). Then he looks over at the animal carrier and asks me what's in it, and I tell him "What I called you guys for, The Possum" (I was a little ticked by this moment, so it didn't come out so nice). Then he replies, "That is illegal too!" I said "What is?" He said " To trap a wild animal". Trust me, I was seriously trying to bite my tongue with this guy. I took a good 5 second count in my head, and as calm as I could I said "He was in my garage in the cubby space, and I wasn't going to leave him in there so he could possibly get into the house not knowing if it has rabies or fleas". He replies, "Well, its illegal to move the wild animal from where you found him". By this time, I couldn't help but lash out some at the situation. I sarcastically said "so, I just need to leave him in the house then with my family, right?" Then he tells me that he is not allowed to take the wild animal, and I HAD to let it go right there. I told him that I will not let it go right there because its a neighborhood and it will either get killed or run into someone else's house. Then he says "most people just tell me 'ok, we'll handle it' and I am on my way", so I repeated back to him just what he said, and that part of the conversation was over (Why didn't they just tell me this on the phone right?). Then he turns back to my doves and insists that it is illegal to color them. I asked for written proof (I know, I should have just said 'Yes, sir, you're right sir" and he would have been on his way, but I really wanted to know). So, he goes to the Animal Control vehicle, and pulls out a manual and we are standing in the garage while he is flipping page through page and finding nothing on the topic. Then he says, let me look under wild and exotic animals, and I NICELY (yes I was nice on this one *haha*) said "these particular doves are not wild animals, they are domesticated. They can't survive in the wild". He said "oh really", I said "Yes, really". Then he asked me what I used them for, and I told him I was a professional magician and they were my pets. He changed his tone and said "Oh, then if they are for your business, that changes everything" - Are you guys as confused as I am right now? *haha* Anyhow, I end up showing all of my Vet papers, and State Certification papers to the guy before he leaves for all of my animals. I even explained to him that during vet visits, the vet stated as long as it was "the stuff I was using to color the birds" (which is totally harmless), then there is no problem with it. Then he says, well as long as the vet says its ok************** And then he tries one more time to call his supervisor to find out about the coloring of doves and no success at that. I told him, if it were such a big deal, I can just bathe them and they will be all white again. After a little more of discussion, He finally got on his way. (My wife actually came out because we started to get a little louder as we were "discussing" the situation.)
Now, if anyone in the Carolina's knows anything about the coloring of doves and its legality, PLEASE let me know, as I have never heard that before. This situation (which just happened in this past hour) really has me wondering if this guy was just trying to give me a hard time, or if its true. He couldn't find anything in his manual, nor could his supervisor. I have a strong feeling that I may not have heard the last of this when all I wanted was for them to remove the possum, which, by the way IS STILL HERE! *ha*
While I have never encountered this situation before, and even performing a public show at one point with animal control there with me and not saying anything. (I did tell this guy that, and he said, "well not everybody knows the laws"). I have even had animal activists state that they are pretty and ask how I did it, and after telling them, they were fine with it.
I know some people will say "that is why I don't do that", but that is not the answer I am looking for. The answer I am looking for is if anyone knows of any laws regarding the coloring of doves. The officer was telling me about some small turtles long ago that were colored and became illegal to do so trying to get his point across, but couldn't find any written law in his manual. He says he knows its a law, but yet couldn't produce any proof to me, while at the same time, I provided all State papers for my animals.