No Good Deed Goes Unpunished :-)

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Howdy All,

I thought this was just too ironic...

I've spent the last couple of years helping the local reptile store get their chameleon enclosures (and chameleons) closer to acceptable, including a semi-automated misting system and drainage that I installed - free labor. They are able to do several runs a day for about 15 minutes across 6 encosures.

Today, the Califronia Fish and Game came in to do an inspection. They threatend to fine them because their chameleon cages didn't have water bowels :eek:. Now they all have water bowels :mad:. Oh well...
California government officials, eh? Don't they have some actor as a governor there? Makes you wonder who's in charge of their fish and game... ;)
California government officials, eh? Don't they have some actor as a governor there? ... ;)

The Fish and Game person was overheard to say: "I'll be back" in an Austrian accent :).

Actually, the Senate bill that for the longest time, looked to be a bit out of control (every reptile had to be separately identifiable... etc., etc.) was just vetoed (with whatever excuse). The bill had some good points but it was just way-overboard, in my opinion.

Here's what Arnie said in the end:

VETOED DATE: 09/29/2006

To Members of the California State Assembly:

As an animal lover I have supported strong animal welfare laws and
provided funding to ensure the humane treatment of animals.

Assembly Bill 2862 requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to
develop statewide regulations for the housing of animals in pet
stores and retail outlets. The bill mandates the creation of a state
program without providing the authority or funding source to develop
or enforce the new laws. The Department is funded by the licensing
fees of the professionals it regulates, such as doctors, dentists and
accountants. It is not legal for the Department to use these
license fees to implement or enforce this bill.

For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill.


Arnold Schwarzenegger
I would see if you could get the inspectors name and call him directly at his office and then offer to email him special info about how these animals get their water...if they are a person with common sense you may be able to work around it.

I thought that I remember reading that you live near or in Manhattan Beach. I was just curious, what local reptile store are you helping? I'd love to go check it out. Thanks.
I would see if you could get the inspectors name and call him directly at his office and then offer to email him special info about how these animals get their water...if they are a person with common sense you may be able to work around it.

It doesnt matter the law is above them it seems, they pretty much just inforce it and deal with reports. Heres what would happen if they were given an exception:

-Customers would report the board because they lack proper care knowledge.
-Competing stores would continue to report them in attempt to drive out competition.
-Animal Rights and groups agaisnt exotic pets would cause a huge fuss.

Even if it is dumb, and potentially hazardous for chameleons, it gives the people reason to stir shit so to speak. I worked at a pet importer/store that had 'customers' (but actually undercover animal rights people) come in weekly to see if they could catch us 'slipping up'.

The store is called "Reptile Finders" in Lomita, CA. If you do make it in there, you'll see that I'm only partially successful with their chameleon keeping. Among other things, they could clean better, and have fewer chameleons overall. And someone got the bright idea of putting peat moss in the bottom after I had already setup the bottoms to drain. I recently got them a really good deal on some used enclosures which they are using now and I'll have to go back and drill those bottoms too.

If you plan on going there this weekend, let me know and I'll met you there (so I can apologize for the "conditions" in person :eek:). What town are you coming from?


I called Fish and Game (left a msg to call me) so that I could have a very carefully crafted, diplomatic discussion of the situation. We'll see if they call me back. I know what you mean about the "public" etc. I thought about putting a sign up that talked about chameleon hydration.
Reptile Finders


Sorry, I didn't get back to you sooner. Thanks for your reply. I know the store you're trying to help out. Reptile Finders is only a few miles away from me and I think Chuck is the owner's name. I've talked to him several times. He offered to take my first clutch of panthers at 2 days old, but I didn't accept his offer.

The last time I visited the store, I overheard one of the workers explaining chameleon care to a customer and I was impressed that he was correct. Now I know why. He must have been listening to you. Good job Dave.

I definitely agree with you that they could clean more often and maybe keep a few less chams in each cage. Last time I looked they had a lot.

Your story about the Fish and Game department is disturbing. Hopefully, the issue has been resolved. Fish and Game should not be citing them for improper care when they obviously don't know what proper care is. That's just wrong. :mad:

I plan to check out your improvements this weekend. That's really nice of you to help them out.
I am wondering if there is any "Public" way to notify the Fish and Game. Like a forum wide mass email. Public agencies love getting pelted with emails of complaints LOL. If we all took the time to write an email, siting the hydration types and care of Chams, maybe they would look at it diffrent. I dont want to spam, but an informative profesional email to Fish and Game might work. We would need more info, and maybe a templete to follow. I am not sure if anyone would be up to it. This is just a thought.


He offered to take my first clutch of panthers at 2 days old, but I didn't accept his offer.

I definitely agree with you that they could clean more often and maybe keep a few less chams in each cage.

...Fish and Game department is disturbing...

I plan to check out your improvements this weekend...
Howdy Hilohi,

Chuck's eyes are often bigger than his stomach. He forgets that the level of attention that he needs to set aside to raise baby chameleons to 3 months is challenging :eek:.

Cleaning is one of my pet peeves (double entendre :)) at the reptile store. You can never do enough of it. I gave them enough of my chlorhexidine gluconate to make 8 gallons of it to help them sanitize their enclosures after cleaning them but it's that "cleaning" part that they stumble over :(.

I left a message for the district Fish and Game guy last Friday, but no return call yet. I'll be calling him again today.

Toss me an email if you want to meet-up at the store and/or you can stop by my house. I've got plenty of free roaches!

(I'll bet a nickel that we've talked before if you've been to the store more than a few times on a weekend day. I'm 6' 4" with a short-short gray beard.)
Last edited:
Reptile Finders

Hi Dave,

I stopped by Reptile Finders today after work to check out your handy work. I like how you set up their sprinkler and drainage systems. Very nice job. That's the happiest I've ever seen their chams. And I didn't see any peat moss, so they must have removed it. You're a good guy Dave to help them out the way you did.

I bought some pinheads while I was there, and they said they got them from you. So thank you for providing food for my little babies. I also saw some of your roaches while I was there. I guess they only carry your Madagascar hissers. I would have bought some, but they give me the creeps.

I'm sure that I would have seen you in the store if we were there the same time, but being that you're 6'4" and I'm only 5', you could have easily missed seeing me. I'm actually going back tomorrow to show Chuck one of my 4 month old panthers. I feel better about them now that you've improved their level of care giving.

I forgot to ask them about the water dish issue. I don't remember seeing any water dishes in the cham cages so maybe they were able to convince Fish and Game that they were providing water via the sprinkler system.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your story with all of us.
POST SOME PHOTOS FOR US ALREADY! Jezz, this discusion going on about some apparently great work done for a great cause... and we can't comment or praise you for it! :)

Glad to hear that things looked ok :).

Reptile Finders is certainly not the "model" reptile store but they have been very receptive of changes with their chameleon environments. It would be nice to have some live plants in the enclosures but at least they can attempt to sterilize plastic items in-between the chameleons being sold.

My relationship with that store started when I would come in and pick-up a batch of crickets and while in the store, I'd ask if I could hand-mist their chameleons. When they saw what happens during an hour of misting, they were amazed at how much drinking a thirsty chameleon can do :eek:. Of course, drainage was becoming a problem since it didn't exist :(. A looong story short, I said if you put up the money I'll buy and install drainage and a semi-automated mist system. They're getting a little tired these days of pumping-up the big garden sprayer so Chuck is thinking real hard about buying a ProMist pump :D.

Here's an early photo just after I finished the original setup. There are now 6 enclosures, all about the same height.

One of these days, another step is to switch him over to a set of 48" Reptisun tubes instead of a mix of 18" and 24" fixtures.

Oh, although I did give Chuck all of my hisser colony many months ago, I think the hissers that he has now came from elsewhere.

I also used to feed-off my excess :)rolleyes:) silkworms back when I was hatching my own and growing them into giants. Talk about happy critters! Same thing with my roaches...
If you need a hand...

Hey Dave,

If you need a DVM to help you with your discussion to enlighten these folks, I'm happy to get involved. I also am in contact with some DVM's boarded in California that might be able to help as well.

Sounds like you have it under control though.

Good luck

Hey Dave,

The picture you provided doesn't do your work justice. It looks much nicer now. All the cages are black, the same height and lined up nicely in a row with sprinkler heads directly above each cage and a fairly clean drainage system below. I thought it was huge improvement.

Not too many of us would actually donate their time and labor to improve another's setup, although many of us are willing to share their knowledge and experience through this forum or in other ways. I think what you did was extremely commendable and now countless chams will benefit from your good deed. :p

Take a bow Dave, you earned it.
Howdy Hilohi,

Thanks for the comments! My wife thinks I'm a bit nuts for running around to the store and to chameleon keepers' houses making free house calls to those who are having problems - most of whom haven't had the benefit of a website like this :rolleyes:. A couple of years of running around like this has given me a chance to work with a lot of sick chameleons that I wouldn't otherwise have had a chance to learn from. I used to take-in sick chameleons but I finally realized that I was taking too big a chance by not having proper quarantine facilities. Now, I'll only do it, once in a while, if it is clearly a case of just proper husbandry to bring them back to health. Chameleons are certainly addictive :D.
Chameleons are addictive


I couldn't agree with you more. I definitely think I'm addicted too. Chameleons are all so unique in their personalities, their coloring, their likes and dislikes. Every day I learn something new about them and I'm always amazed.

I know what you mean about people thinking you're nuts. I run into that a lot, especially from women but even some men think it's creepy. I guess that's why I like this forum. It's one of the few places I can share my love for chameleons.

Thanks Brad for giving all of us a place to share. I think I'm addicted to this forum too. :confused:
Top Bottom