British Columbia

Snake breeder questions euthanization of 46 pythons

An exotic snake breeder says conservation officers should not have killed 46 pythons seized at a Mission, B.C. rental home last week, and he wants RCMP to investigate.

100 snakes were seized from a Mission, B.C., rental home on Aug. 15

A python breeder criticizes conservation officers 2:08

An exotic snake breeder says conservation officers should not have killed 46 pythons seized at a Mission, B.C. rental home last week, and he wants RCMP to investigate.

"To euthanize the animals all in one shot, all in the first day — it just makes no sense," said David Chan, a Lower Mainland-based breeder who worked with the province to develop its prohibited species list.

Conservation officers said the reticulated pythons that were killed are prohibited under the province's Wildlife Act. The owner of the reticulated pythons was allowed to keep 50 other snakes that were also found in the Mission home, but officers said the man did not have permits for the prohibited ones.

Officers euthanized the 46 prohibited snakes before removing them from the home, calling the pythons a risk to public safety.

Chan, who specializes in breeding boas and ball pythons, disputes the claim.

Conservation officers seized 100 snakes from this Mission, B.C., home over the weekend. (CBC)

"I'd like the Ministry of Environment to prove they have actual evidence these animals are what they call a public safety issue," said Chan.

Conservation officers also told CBC News on the weekend they had nowhere to house the snakes.

"We don't have the capacity to store 46 controlled alien species snakes, so we can't take any sort of risk, so we had to have those animals put down" said conservation officer Dave Cox.

Chan, owner and operator of Exotic Serpents in Richmond, B.C., questions that decision as well.

"They took no opportunity to try to relocate these animals."

Meanwhile, he says he's worried all the negative press snakes are getting will result in the public calling for further bans, which, Chan argues, will only push demand for exotic pets to the black market.

With files from the CBC's Chad Pawson