Nova Scotia

CBRM rethinks circus ban wording

Cape Breton regional council wants to rework its proposed circus ban to allow a few snakes to slither through.

Cape Breton regional council wants to rework its proposed circus ban to allow a few snakes to slither through.

Council agreed Tuesday to postpone a vote on a draft bylaw that prohibits the use of wild and exotic animals for public amusement.

The move came after several councillors complained the wording of the bylaw was too broad and could result in the shutdown of at least one local business.

Coun. Claire Detheridge said a couple from Mira runs a circus-like business by taking snakes and other creatures into schools for educational purposes.

"They're booked solid. They're very well respected out in the community. What effect will this bylaw have on this gentleman and his wife and their business?" Detheridge said.

Municipal staff agreed it was possible the ban would apply to that local business because snakes are among the creatures listed in the draft bylaw.

Coun. Gordon MacLeod said the CBRM needs to return to the original intent of the proposal.

"We wanted to have some sort of bylaw that would cover a traveling circus, not the RCMP Ride or Roy Rogers or Trigger," he said.

Other councillors spoke of the difficulty of enforcing such a ban. They said a lawyer in Ontario said some courts have struck down similar laws.

Council will discuss a revised draft bylaw at its next meeting in December. 

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