Canada

B.C. city could ban sale of exotic pets

The city council of Surrey, B.C., has drafted a bylaw that would ban the sale of snakes, lizards and other exotic pets

The city council of Surrey, B.C., has drafted a bylaw that would ban the sale of snakes, lizards and other exotic pets.

The Vancouver Humane Society has been pushing for such a bylaw, saying the exotic pets are actually wild animals that are suited for a particular environment, not for living with people.

Animal rights activists say reptiles pose problems as pets, that they grow larger than some owners expect and become too expensive to take care of.

Christine Schramm of the Surrey Reptile Refuge says pet owners have left close to 400 reptiles and other exotic animals at her facility and it's running out of room.

But some animal lovers say it's unfair to discriminate against certain kinds of pets.

Cheri Simmons, a Surrey pet store manager, says cats and dogs are a bigger burden on shelters than reptiles are.

Richmond, B.C., considered a ban on exotic pets earlier this year, but settled on a restriction on the sale of large or venomous species.

Simmons says responsible pet owners need to research an animal's needs before opting for an exotic pet, such as a reptile.

The Humane Society hopes the debate in Surrey over exotic pets will develop into a province-wide issue.

If it succeeds in Surrey, it wants to go further, to other communities in B.C., and to make it illegal to own exotic pets.

now