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Topic: A serious question about State Laws
Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Apr 28, 2008 12:10PM)
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.

So, anyone?

If anything, this will help other Dove guys out there in case you run into this situation. Animal laws are getting very strict, and so I think this will help everyone know a little more when it comes to your state, and making sure your vet papers are up to date. We already know about rabbits.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Apr 28, 2008 12:30PM)
Thomas, you should have told the guy your doves were part parakeet and part parrot and they were born that color. He obviously doesn't know what he's doing so he'd probably buy into that excuse.

Did you happen to call the animal control people back and explain the situation about the possum? Seems like they wouldn't have sent someone out to get the animal if what you did was illegal. Maybe you should have open the carrier and let the possum go back to the cubby. Then you wouldn't be guilty of trapping a wild animal and he could have done his job.

Pretty stupid, all things considered.
Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Apr 28, 2008 12:43PM)
Hey Dave, I should have told him that, he just may have believed it! *haha*

I didn't call them back because I figured it was too much hassle to keep going at it. They know what officer they sent out there, and I didn't want that officer to retaliate with something in the future. I think he saw that he wasn't right and was just shuffling his feet to keep from apologizing. If I had called back, it wouldn't have been a nice conversation, and there was no need for me to keep pressing the issue. I just got back from releasing the possum myself into the wild. I think its an aweful thing to do because WHAT IF it had rabies? WHAT IF it was diseased? WHAT IF it gets into a scuffle with a domesticated animal and there is a case of rabies? Just doesn't make any sense to me, as I felt I was doing the right thing by calling Animal Control, and then it backfire on me to totally safe and obviously well taken care of domesticated birds. Arrgghh.....is about all I can say. I laugh a little now, but really, I just really get flustered. I called for one reason, and it turned into something utterly ridiculous. Its not illegal to use the word utterly is it? because I am not referring to a cow. *haha*
Message: Posted by: Regan (Apr 28, 2008 12:58PM)
I was told that there was talk on the radio about a lady being arrested for dieing a poodle. It seems it is now illegal, at least in some places. I'm not sure if it is nationwide or not. I was told the discussion went into magicians colkoreing doves, and it specifically mentioned that this was included in the law.

I have been wondering when this topic would emerge at The Magic Café. I hope someone can find out and give an accurate account of what is going on.

Message: Posted by: Amyxdove (Apr 28, 2008 01:20PM)
The guy was just being a Jack A**. Next time just take care of the possum yourself. If you know what I mean. (Send him to possum heaven) Or the possum will have your doves for lunch. I am from the South (New Orleans) and that's the way it's done down there. Sorry if I shock a bunch of viewers but Animal control would put it down anyway.

Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Apr 28, 2008 01:27PM)
Hi Regan, thanks for jumping in. Any idea of what radio station that was or when it was? I was just wondering because if they have a podcast, it would be nice to download that and listen to it. I know that may be a long shot, but I thought I would ask.

I forgot to mention that the officer even asked me if a dove ever died from me coloring it? I told him "no" and the youngest dove that is colored is 3 years old. The others are still white.

Its getting tougher to be an animal performer these days it seems. I guess that is why Dove guys are getting fewer and fewer. Its a tough business!
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Apr 28, 2008 01:29PM)
So it's ok to trap a domesticated animal but not a wild one. Seems like that is what animal control is for. That means you couldn't trap a squirrel in your attack either, unless it was a domesticated one. :lol:

I'm with you Andy. Take care of business and protect my family always come first.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Apr 28, 2008 01:31PM)
The guy works for animal control, obviously he is no attorney. If you want the law in your state researched, contact an attorney, or make a phone call to your state attorney general's office and ask about laws pertaining to such things.
Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Apr 28, 2008 01:38PM)
Thanks Andy! *smile*

The neighbors, of course, came out shortly afterwards and sort of wanted to know what was going on. They were thinking that I was in trouble for having the doves, and after I was telling them what had happened, one of my neighbors, who is a city policeman, said that they had just caught the momma possum across the back street in someone else's garage, so there are probably more of them running around. Not that I know much about possum's, but apparently they are known for carrying diseases. Just kills me that they would fuss over my pets and leave me a big rat to deal with myself....I asked him why, then, would they come out and leave it. He said because I called, they have to respond regardless. So, I learned a lesson on that....won't call....

Maybe that is why the possum was where he was then. He saw dinner for later. Thanks, Andy, for pointing that out. I didn't know that Possum's had a diet for birds. I know nothing of the species, only the flat ones I see in the road. Now that I know this info, I will be more cautious. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Apr 28, 2008 01:43PM)
Dave - You are right on that - Family First. Hopefully there won't be a next time.

Photius - you are right. Just the fact he would bring it up got me thinking. That is seriously the first time it has even come into question.
Message: Posted by: Regan (Apr 28, 2008 02:42PM)
On 2008-04-28 14:27, 1906Alpha1906 wrote:
Hi Regan, thanks for jumping in. Any idea of what radio station that was or when it was? I was just wondering because if they have a podcast, it would be nice to download that and listen to it. I know that may be a long shot, but I thought I would ask.

I forgot to mention that the officer even asked me if a dove ever died from me coloring it? I told him "no" and the youngest dove that is colored is 3 years old. The others are still white.

Its getting tougher to be an animal performer these days it seems. I guess that is why Dove guys are getting fewer and fewer. Its a tough business!

No idea where it aired. It would have been in this region (Western Carolina/Eastern Tennessee), but it could have been a national broadcast, I really don't know. I will try to find out when I talk to my friend again. As for when it aired, I am thinking it was around a month ago when I was told about it.

They are certainly making it tougher on magicians. The rabbit police that I have heard so much about are already out in force, and if this is true about coloring animals, the dove magician's may face more regulations too.

Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Apr 28, 2008 02:52PM)
I think I found the article. Here is the link:


I guess its time to dig deep. Apparently the law there was to keep people from doing this around Easter with chicks and rabbits due to the fact that there were some that were using toxic materials to do it.

When the officer was talking AT me, he mentioned Easter time and people doing this so the law was passed. I guess I need to check my local laws on this then. I suppose we all need to check our local laws then pertaining to this, and hopefully this thread will keep other dove magicians from getting into trouble in their areas.
Message: Posted by: Regan (Apr 29, 2008 07:14AM)
I think you are right. I asked my friend and she said it did air around a month ago. It was told on a radio news broadcast and the djs were discussing it, but she cannot remember which station she was listening too.

The incident that started it was when a lady had dyed her ppodle pink for breast cancer awareness. I guess it was for some event. They arested her, and said the law was made to prevent folks from dying animlas at Easter. (Mostly rabbits and ducks, but any animal was included in the law). By the way, this lady had had breast cancer (Not sure if it was in remission or not). I think arresting her over something like that was a pretty sorry thing thing to do.

I never have found out where this occured, or how far reaching this law is.

Message: Posted by: ERIC (Apr 29, 2008 03:26PM)
When he told me to turn it loose, I would have done just that...INTO HIS CAR! This guy just didn't want to do his job.
Message: Posted by: knmagic (Apr 30, 2008 09:02PM)
On 2008-04-29 16:26, ERIC wrote:
When he told me to turn it loose, I would have done just that...INTO HIS CAR! This guy just didn't want to do his job.

Exactly what I thought...He is a jerk...and we are paying his salary with our tax dollars.
Message: Posted by: magicone (Apr 30, 2008 10:31PM)
I recently was looking into the regs in PA and also saw (can't find the direct link, I seem to have lost it) that in PA you cannot color or use colored doves.

Really wild, you could probably find them on a menu somewhere though :)

Here is a link I found reference animals and the welfare act, interesting....
Message: Posted by: haywire (Apr 30, 2008 11:38PM)
That's not good news, I'm in PA and I certainly do color some of my doves...

I will continue to do so unless I get "busted" somehow.

Message: Posted by: Jeffrey Korst (May 1, 2008 02:20AM)
I have no info as to whether or not it is legal to color doves or other animals.

I used to make my living doing a dove act. I used white doves, but I do know a number of performers who use/used colored doves--including Ron Urban, who I believe was the first to color doves.

I strongly suspect as time goes by the animal rights folks will get it to the point that magicians will start hearing boos when they produce a bird or other animal. Have you been to a circus lately?

You and I know coloring the birds does not hurt them. I don't think PETA will care if it hurts them or not. Using white doves will be acceptable longer, but how much longer is anyones guess.
Message: Posted by: haywire (May 1, 2008 04:35AM)
I have a standard speech for the people who have some negative comment about coloring the doves. I simply mention that in the wild, these white doves would survive a year or two at best. In my care, my doves will probably live for 20+ years. The coloring is harmless to the birds, and I make sure they know that.

I color my birds just for appearance but also so that people recognize and easily understand that I am not just producing the same bird over and over again. Its my personal choice to do so, and they are my property, so I don't think anyone should be able to interfere with my choice to do so.

Its actually strange how people react at times to my birds. Almost all the comments are very positive, but very rarely some peta person says something.
Also at one show someone said, those are beautiful colored birds, are they exotic, like from the rainforest? Its kind of funny actually that people don't recognize them as regular doves, just colored. I'm glad for that though, because I can
sell my "exotic bird act" full of colored doves.

Movies like The prestige have given people the false impression that magicians don't care about the animals they use. AND that we vanish them by crushing them!
Once after doing the vanishing birdcage, right after that movie came out, someone said "that's a great trick, but do you think its right to kill all those birds every time you do that?" I quickly corrected them, I even went out of my way to show them the 4 birds were alive and well in their carriers.

I think its important to show every audience that you love and care very much for
the animals in your care. If you do that, you will almost never have a problem.

There will always be nutjobs who will still find a problem, even with you just using animals at all. I refuse to change for these few people. I take excellent
care of my COLORED BIRDS and will continue to color the birds until I am forced
to do otherwise.

That being said, I think a dove act with all white birds is classic, elegant and beautiful, so I'm fine with that too, I'd just rather not be forced to make that
choice by an ever increasingly intrusive goverment.

As far as Thomas story, he mentioned to me when we talked about this that the police are actually the animal control people in his home town. That explains
a lot about this "animal control" persons attitude.

I think he should have just given him a donut and asked him to leave. I plan on
doing that if cops ever knock on my door looking for my illegally colored birds.

Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (May 1, 2008 06:00AM)
Well at least it looks as if everyone is at least checking their areas for the laws before this gets out of control.

I have been doing some research, and even ordered our State Law Book on Animals, and have read it through, and there is nothing on the topic, or at least written in the book about it. It mentions mostly about Dogs and Cats, and Exotic and Wild birds, but nothing of domesticated birds and coloring. What I am thinking is that if it is a law as this Animal Control officer mentioned, it may be a county by county, or city by city law, or maybe even he came from another state and just moved here and doesn't know, but assumed. I have no idea! Its still good for everyone to check their areas though, just to avoid this situation in a public setting. Luckily, this guy wasn't at one of my shows, or it would have been embarrassing to get approached like that in front of people. "Mr. Officer, can you step into my sword basket please!?"

Steven is right, though, our Animal Control people are the Police also. Its just too bad I had Barney Phife show up.

Its just raised some awareness as to what may be happening in the future. Would just rather not have someone go through this in a public setting. Can you imagine the looks on people's faces when the police give you a ticket, or put cuffs on you for coloring birds? And then, the guy that steals the purse and takes off running gets away because the police were occupied with a magician and his birds. Ha!
Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (May 1, 2008 07:28PM)
Well I have received numerous emails about this situation, and so far, this is what was found"

In South Carolina, it is illegal! Here is the proof:


SECTION 47-1-125. Coloring or dying animals prohibited; sale or distribution of certain young animals prohibited; penalty.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to dye or color artificially any animal or fowl, including but not limited to rabbits, baby chickens, and ducklings, or to bring any dyed or colored animal or fowl into this State.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale or give away as merchandising premiums, baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl under four weeks of age or rabbits under two months of age to be used as pets, toys or retail premiums.

(3) This section shall not be construed to apply to any animal or fowl, including but not limited to rabbits, baby chickens and ducklings to be used or raised for agricultural purposes by persons with proper facilities to care for them or for poultry or livestock exhibitions.

(4) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

*****Dynamike sent me this information - Thank you.

Still no news on the North Carolina Laws as of yet, as I am still researching the issue. I sincerely hope this helps any magician in the Carolina's who performs with colored birds and even plans on travelling to SC to perform. While they law may not be enforced, you may run into some official like I had standing in my garage telling me I was wrong. Silly, I know, but if they really wanted to cause a "stink" like most that have nothing better to do will do, they can.

As for the Possum (Thanks Knmagic) - Animal control can't take them, the resident has to pay $250 to have a wildlife specialist come in and remove them....so Andy, I think buckshot is a lot cheaper! *haha*
Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (May 2, 2008 12:16AM)
On 2008-05-01 20:28, 1906Alpha1906 wrote:
(3) This section shall not be construed to apply to any animal or fowl, including but not limited to rabbits, baby chickens and ducklings to be used or raised for agricultural purposes by persons with proper facilities to care for them or for poultry or livestock exhibitions. [/quote]

I've never seen these animals artificially colored on a farm or at a 4-H exhibit, but it's nice to know they have the option. :P
It certainly seems that the laws, in SC at least, were created in response to Easter sales. But it's encouraging to see an exception to the rule already on the books, so maybe someone who lives or does business in the area could apply for an addendum. Unless the dye/coloring used is toxic to the birds, I don't see why entertainers shouldn't be included in the list of exclusions. Artistic expression, including dramatic works, is protected by the First Amendment.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (May 5, 2008 06:48AM)
True animals are safer in your house (regardless of the species) then they are in your backyard. Most animals in the wild will only live a few years, domesticated animals in a well cared for habitat will leave beyond their species normal lifespan.

As for the Animal Rights Activists, nothing wrong with them, but some have been identified by the United States Goverment to be Eco-terrorists looking to steal some money (and business) by use of false claims and statistics.

Like I said previously, those who are against zoo's and domestication have no idea that animals in captivity are FAR BETTER OFF then those in the wild.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (May 13, 2008 01:40PM)
Government obviously needs to be much smaller, if it has time to waste our tax dollars on such moronic laws. Some days, I think that anarchy would be preferable to a "democracy" in which the populace are "sheep" who are afraid of voting for a candidate that only has a small chance of winning. Most Americans have no guts.
Message: Posted by: Gordon (May 13, 2008 08:57PM)
Hmmm, sounds like someone has been listening to Rush Limbaugh.

In addition to the look on the face of the animal control officer, consider the look on the faces of your audience members who wonder what the heck you did to that bird and is it OK? And for those who do think this, what inferences will they draw about you, as a person?
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (May 14, 2008 10:46AM)
On 2008-05-13 21:57, Gordon wrote:
Hmmm, sounds like someone has been listening to Rush Limbaugh.

Rush is an idiot and a hypocrite. I can formulate my own conclusions without hearing media personalities stating their opinions.
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (May 14, 2008 09:37PM)
Here are some laws
Message: Posted by: DaveWomach (May 18, 2008 08:18PM)
In Florida it's illegal to release more than 10 helium balloons. It's also illegal to own parrots without a permit... I have to admit it'd be great press to get busted for releasing 11 balloons at a party, and having a parrot in a cage... with a colored head feather. "Magician - animal smuggler, or just full of hot air?" Psh...

I almost got arrested (but got out by paying a fine), because a USDA Certified Vet (who will remain nameless) at the US/Canada border thought that "Toucan is another name for Canary". And since he thought the canary in question was on CITES, I had a warrant for my arrest... In reality, it was my actual TOUCAN that he couldn't identify... How the hell do you misidentify a toucan?

... Good luck with those colored doves...

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (May 18, 2008 08:35PM)
This is an advantage of my age. My white doves match my hair!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander