Python fears prompt 'unnecessary' raids, expert says
Animal rights group calls for new federal rules for exotic pets
Canadian regulations for exotic pets are facing greater scrutiny in the weeks after a large African rock python escaped its enclosure and killed two young boys in northern New Brunswick.
More than 100 reptiles have been seized by police in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia since the Campbellton tragedy.
Some of the reptiles that have been seized are illegal, dangerous animals or are allegedly lacking permits or adequate care.
- Python seized in Nova Scotia
- Nearly 50 pythons euthanized in B.C. home eviction
- 40 pythons found in Brantford, Ont., motel
But Bry Loyst, the owner of the Indian River Reptile Zoo in Peterborough, said he believes the focus on these reptiles is going too far.
"The public is obviously frightened, I think authorities are taking a kneejerk reaction and doing some unnecessary raids," Loyst said.
Some of the seized animals are being euthanized. Loyst said other reptiles are being transferred to different municipalities or given to exotic pet stores.
He said this is not a viable long-term solution for handling these animals.
Josey Kitson, the executive director in Canada for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, said she agrees what’s happened to these animals in the aftermath of the Campbellton tragedy is not ideal.
"It gets really difficult to know what to do with animals, exotic animals when they're taken from their owners. There isn't a lot of options for these animals," she said.
"The most important thing for us to remember is we need to stop them from coming into the country and stop them from being bred in the country."
Kitson said she believes it is time for the federal government to step in with stricter rules on exotic animals.
"I believe that it's serious enough that the federal government should act to regulate the keeping of these animals across all of Canada and not just provincially," Kitson said.
Since the Campbellton tragedy, Premier David Alward said the New Brunswick government will review its regulations and policies governing exotic pets.
Other municipalities and provinces across Canada have taken a closer look at their exotic animal legislation.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also said the federal government would see whether they should get involved with stricter exotic pet rules
But reptile experts, such as Loyst, said it all starts with better education, and they are proposing a well-designed permit system.
Loyst was the reptile expert brought to northern New Brunswick to remove illegal species from Reptile Ocean, the store below the apartment where Connor Barthe, 6, and his brother Noah, 4, died.
Court documents show the owner of the reptile store is being investigated for criminal negligence causing death.
The purpose of the warrant was to further investigate the deaths and determine whether the enclosure in which the snake was being held was inadequate or defective.
In the last few weeks, Loyst said he has received endless calls from reptile owners across Canada who are worried about their pet's future.
"There are countless species of reptiles that do make great pets. It's really only the potentially dangerous animals we should be concerned about," he said.