South Carolina Legislature


 

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H 3815
Session 112 (1997-1998) 

H 3815 General Bill, By Delleney, Barfield, Boan, G. Brown, Carnell, Harvin, 
J. Hines, M. Hines, Kennedy, Koon, Law, Mack, McCraw, Miller, Phillips, Rhoad, 
Riser, Sharpe, Sheheen, Stuart, Webb, Wilkes and Witherspoon
 A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO
 FISH, GAME AND WILDLIFE BY ADDING CHAPTER 14 SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH
 CAROLINA COMMERCIAL ALLIGATOR OPERATIONS ACT OF 1997"; TO DEFINE "ALLIGATOR",
 "ALLIGATOR FARM", "ALLIGATOR FARMER", "ALLIGATOR PART", "ALLIGATOR PARTS
 DEALER", "BOARD", "DEPARTMENT", AND "TRANSPORT".-SHORT TITLE

   04/02/97  House  Introduced and read first time HJ-127
   04/02/97  House  Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural
                     Resources and Environmental Affairs HJ-128



A BILL

TO AMEND TITLE 50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO FISH, GAME AND WILDLIFE BY ADDING CHAPTER 14 SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA COMMERCIAL ALLIGATOR OPERATIONS ACT OF 1997"; TO DEFINE "ALLIGATOR", "ALLIGATOR FARM", "ALLIGATOR FARMER", "ALLIGATOR PART", "ALLIGATOR PARTS DEALER", "BOARD", "DEPARTMENT", AND "TRANSPORT"; TO PROVIDE FOR AND PERMIT THE BREEDING OF FARM-RAISED ALLIGATORS FOR CERTAIN COMMERCIAL PURPOSES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGULATION OF BREEDING, EXHIBITING, SELLING, PURCHASING, SHIPPING, AND TRANSPORTATION OF FARM-RAISED ALLIGATORS OR THE SKINS, CARCASSES, OR PARTS THEREOF, BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE LICENSING OF ALLIGATOR FARMERS, ALLIGATOR PARTS DEALERS, AND CERTAIN RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS; TO PROVIDE THE PROCEDURE FOR TAGGING OF ALLIGATOR SKINS, CARCASSES, MEAT OR PARTS; TO PROVIDE FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS IN CERTAIN ALLIGATORS AND PARTS THEREOF; TO PROVIDE FOR THE FURNISHING OR RETENTION OR INSPECTION OF RECORDS OR BILLS OF SALE RELATING TO THE SALE OR PURCHASE OR SHIPMENT OF ALLIGATOR SKINS, CARCASSES, OR PARTS; TO PROVIDE FOR A SEVERANCE TAX UPON THE SKINS OF CERTAIN ALLIGATORS TAKEN WITHIN THIS STATE; TO PROHIBIT THE TAKING OR POSSESSION OF ALLIGATORS OR THEIR EGGS, SKINS, OR PARTS, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED HEREIN; TO PROVIDE FOR THE VOIDING OF LICENSES ISSUED UNDER THIS CHAPTER UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE FORFEITURE AND DISPOSAL BY PUBLIC AUCTION OF CERTAIN ALLIGATORS, PARTS, AND SKINS AND THE CANCELLATION OF ALLIGATOR FARMER LICENSES UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEPOSIT OF THE PROCEEDS FROM PUBLIC AUCTIONS IN THE WILDLIFE PROTECTION FUND OF THE STATE TREASURER FOR USE IN ADMINISTERING THE ALLIGATOR CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM OR FOR PROTECTION OF NONGAME AND ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILDLIFE; AND TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION OF THIS CHAPTER AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED THEREUNDER.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Chapter 14

South Carolina Commercial Alligator Operations Act

Section 50-14-10. This chapter may be cited as 'The South Carolina Commercial Alligator Operations Act of 1997'.

Section 50-14-20. For the purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms mean:

(1) 'Alligator farm' means an enclosed area not located on public lands or waters, constructed so as to prevent the ingress and egress of alligators from surrounding public or private lands or waters and meeting other specifications prescribed by the department, where alligators are bred and raised under controlled conditions.

(2) 'Alligator farmer' means a person who raises alligators under controlled conditions which prohibit free movement of the animals onto and off of the farm or controlled area, and who may harvest alligators under the supervision of the department.

(3) 'Alligator part' means any part of the carcass of an alligator, except its skin.

(4) 'Alligator parts dealer' means any person who deals in alligator parts and who buys from an alligator farmer for the purpose of resale; or manufactures within the state alligator parts into a finished product; or purchases, cans, processes, or distributes alligator meat for wholesale or retail; provided, that a retailer selling canned alligator parts or a retailer purchasing alligator parts from an alligator parts dealer or a restaurant selling prepared alligator meat for human consumption shall not be classified as an alligator parts dealer.

(5) 'Board' means the governing board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

(6) 'Department' means the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

(7) 'Transport' means, in its different tenses, the act of shipping, attempting to ship, receiving or delivering for shipment, transporting, conveying, carrying, or exporting by air, land, or water, or by any means whatsoever.

Section 50-14-30. Any person, firm, or corporation may engage in the business of propagating alligators on an alligator farm for restocking, propagation, and other commercial purposes by complying with the provisions of this article, and may thereafter sell either live alligators to other licensed alligator farmers only, or the parts or skins of such farm-raised alligators to any person, for any purpose, including sale for food, either within or without this state.

Section 50-14-40. Whoever desires to engage in the business of raising, exhibiting, and selling alligators on alligator farms shall apply to the department for a license to do so. If it appears that the application is made in good faith, upon payment of $100.00, an alligator farmer license may be issued permitting the applicant to breed, propagate, exhibit and sell to other licensed alligator farmers only, such alligators alive, or sell their skins and parts and to kill and transport them and sell their skins and parts as herein provided.

Section 50-14-50. Alligator farmer licenses shall expire on the thirty-first day of December of each year. On or before the first day of January of the following year, every licensee shall apply for a renewal of his license. In conjunction with this application, the licensee shall provide a report including all information as specified by the department. Upon receipt of the license application and the report, in form and content prescribed by and satisfactory to the department, and payment of $100.00, the department shall renew his license.

Section 50-14-60. Alligators raised on such licensed breeding farms may be sold alive to other licensed alligator farmers only, or taken for their skins or for food, according to such rules and regulations as the department may promulgate. All skins shall be tagged according to rules and regulations of the department. The severance tax, as provided in section 50-14-120, shall be paid before the raw alligator skins are sold or shipped within or without the state, and a written affidavit as to the number and kinds of skins sold or shipped shall be furnished to the department as specified. No alligator carcass or parts intended for sale shall be shipped, transported, sold, or offered for sale unless tagged according to department regulations.

Section 50-14-70. Whoever under the authority of this article has in his lawful possession any such alligators or parts thereof on such posted or fencedNext alligator farm shall have a property right therein and shall be the owner thereof. Whoever enters the alligator farm and catches, takes, or attempts to catch or take such alligators when the area has been posted or Previousfenced according to law shall be punished as though the alligators were ordinary domestic animals and subject to the property rights of the owner according to the laws of the state of South Carolina.

Section 50-14-80. (A) Each alligator parts dealer shall secure an alligator parts dealer license from the department before commencing business. The license shall be secured annually and shall be furnished upon the payment of $100.00.

(B) Each retailer selling canned alligator parts or purchasing alligator parts, and each restaurant selling prepared alligator meat for human consumption shall secure a license from the department before commencing business. The license shall be secured annually and shall be furnished upon payment of $5.00.

Section 50-14-90. (A) Any licensed alligator farmer may sell alligator carcasses or parts, provided he completes an official alligator parts transaction form, furnished by the department, for every alligator parts transaction. These forms shall be submitted to the department at 30-day intervals until all parts are sold.

(B) Any alligator parts dealer purchasing alligator parts, other than skins, shall complete an official alligator parts transaction form for each purchase. Any alligator parts dealer selling alligator parts, other than skins, shall complete an official alligator parts sale form for each sale. These forms shall be furnished by the department and shall be submitted to the department at 30-day intervals until final disposition of all parts. Each alligator farmer and parts dealer shall furnish a bill of sale to each retailer or restaurant purchasing alligator parts.

(C) Any retailer or restaurant purchasing alligator parts shall maintain a bill of sale for each purchase for a period of six months after such purchase. These records shall be available for inspection at any and all reasonable hours by the board of natural resources, law enforcement officers or any other persons appointed and designated by the board for such purpose.

(D) The records of transaction involving alligator parts of alligator farmers and parts dealers shall be available for inspection at any and all reasonable hours by the board of natural resources, law enforcement officers or any other persons appointed and designated by the board for such purpose. Each parts dealer shall maintain complete records for a period of one year following any transaction.

Section 50-14-100. Each alligator farmer shall tag with an official alligator parts tag, furnished by the department, all carcasses, meat, or nonedible alligator parts prior to sale and upon dissection from the carcass. This tag shall be completed in full and remain attached to the carcass or part until final disposition by the alligator farmer, parts dealer, or consumer if purchased directly from an alligator farmer.

Section 50-14-110. All raw alligator skins shipped within this state shall be tagged so as to show the number and kinds of skins in the shipment, the consignor, shipping point, consignee, and destination. The department shall supply suitable tags to all shippers requiring them for actual shipments. No alligator skin intended for shipment within this state shall be accepted by any post office, express company, or agent, or the agent of any common carrier, unless there is attached to one of the packages composing the shipment to each consignee one of the tags specified herein.

Section 50-14-120. There is hereby levied a severance tax on each alligator skin taken from any alligator within this state, payable to the state through the department by the alligator farmer selling or shipping his skins within or without the state or taking his own catch out of state, at the rate of $1.00 on each skin. Failure to pay such severance tax subjects all alligator skins held by such alligator farmers to confiscation by order of the department. Failure to maintain complete records and to pay the severance tax as provided herein subjects any alligator farmer to the full penalties provided in this article and the immediate revocation of his license by the department. No license shall be issued to any alligator farmer who has not paid such severance tax for the preceding year. Violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Section 50-14-130. No person shall take or possess the eggs of alligators, alligators, or their parts or skins in any county of this state except as provided for in this article, and the provisions of this section shall not apply to legal finished products, alligators or parts thereof legally acquired prior to the effective date of this chapter, or alligators harvested or collected under a permit from the board of the department of natural resources. Violation of this section is a Class C felony.

Section 50-14-140. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, in the event the federal government places the alligator in an endangered species status, all licenses issued pursuant to this article shall be null and void upon the earlier of the following dates: (1) the expiration date of said licenses or (2) one year from the date that the federal government placed the alligator in an endangered species status.

Section 50-14-150. Any person licensed under this chapter who is convicted of violating any of the provisions of this chapter, or regulations promulgated under the authority of this chapter, shall have his license canceled and all alligators, alligator parts, and alligator skins in his possession shall be forfeited to the department of natural resources. These shall be disposed of by the department through public auction and the proceeds thereof deposited in the Wildlife Protection fund of the State Treasurer and used for costs of administering the Alligator Control and Management Program or for the protection of nongame and endangered species of wildlife. Any alligator farmer having his license so canceled will be ineligible to purchase such a license for a period of five years. After five years, said person may purchase an alligator farmer license only on written recommendation of the director of the game and fish division of the department.

Section 50-14-160. The board shall have the authority to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations relative to commercial alligator farming and related operations including, but not limited to, the power:

(1) To establish standards relating to enclosures, housing facilities, handling, care, and treatment of live alligators on the alligator farm of the licensee;

(2) To establish standards relating to the processing, marking, sale, and exportation of hides of alligators harvested on the alligator farm of the licensee;

(3) To require, at such times as it deems necessary for the department to discharge its responsibilities under this Code section, from each licensee an application for a commercial alligator farming license in such form and containing such information as the department deems necessary; and

(4) To require each licensee to maintain on his business premises records in such form and containing such information as is required by the department to discharge its responsibilities under this Code section."

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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Legislative Services Agency
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