An 18-year-old man has been fined $700 and banned from owning pets for a decade after Calgary Humane Society officers discovered nine distressed exotic animals in his care.

Austin Wiltzen had been operating an animal rescue called Calgary Critter Care for about a year and soliciting animals online when it came to the society’s attention in March, officials said.

“The message here is to know your limits, whether as a pet owner or as a rescue group,” said Brad Nichols, manager of cruelty investigations.

“Calgary is saturated with animal rescues of varying legitimacy and it is crucial they be aware that the animal care duties and offences outlined in the Animal Protection Act pertain to them, just as they would a pet owner.”

The society encourages members of the public to call 403-205-4455 if they see an animal suffering abuse or neglect.