Type of snake linked to death of N.B. boys banned in Sask.
The type of python that is believed to have killed two young New Brunswick brothers could not legally be kept as a pet in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan's Captive Wildlife Act prohibits people from keeping constrictor snakes, including boas and python, unless the owners have special permits.
Those permits are usually restricted to animal rescue centres, zoos, and animal farms.
However, that doesn't stop people from trying to sell them as pets in Saskatchewan from other jurisdictions.
"It's not uncommon for people to try and breed snakes in other provinces to try and sell them into Saskatchewan," said Kaley Pugh, the manager of animal protective services for the Saskatchewan SPCA.
"And sometimes people here will buy boas and pythons not realizing that they're prohibited here, or realizing that they're prohibited and choosing to ignore the regulations."
The provincial law is also echoed in some municipal rules, including animal bylaws in Saskatoon and Yorkton.
On the weekend, two brothers, ages 5 and 7, were found dead in an apartment above Reptile Ocean in Campbellton, N.B. after an African rock python got loose.
There's a patchwork of regulations across the country that could make exotic pet ownership confusing for people in Saskatchewan, said Pugh.
"We have snakes here that we're allowed to have that they're not allowed to have in other areas," she said. "For example, we can have the rat snakes that you're not allowed to have in other provinces. It can be confusing."
But the regulations in Saskatchewan are largely restrictive.
"I think that's a good thing when it comes to the really large boas and pythons," added Pugh. "There's not a lot of reason that I can tell for private people to have snakes that are that size and certainly could be dangerous."
The province's Ministry of Environment is usually responsible for seizing snakes. People who are caught with the restricted pets can be fined a maximum of $10,000, and could face up to six months in jail.
In December, 2004, an Aberdeen-area man was fined $2,150 for illegally possessing 15 snakes and a crocodile. A dozen of the reptiles were boas and pythons.
The Saskatchewan SPCA, Regina Humane Society and Saskatoon SPCA have no recent records of constrictor snake seizures.