Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ontario: "Province-wide law needed to protect animals"

By NTW Editorial
Nov 06, 2009

It's astounding to think that in an era when we're supposed to be more enlightened about the welfare of animals and the frailty of many species because of the environmental carnage caused by humans, Ontario has no province-wide law covering the keeping of exotic animals.

Instead, the protection of species ranging from elephants and aardvarks to primates such as gorillas and chimpanzees is left to a mishmash of municipal bylaws scattered across this province.

Many municipalities have no such law, meaning there is little if no regulation of these animals, many of which are endangered in their own habitat.

The City of Thorold found the folly of not having such as bylaw recently, when a police raid on an alleged grow-op in a wooded area next to Highway 406 revealed three lions, a jaguar, monkeys and exotic birds in enclosures.

Because the animals aren't native to the province, even the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has no jurisdiction, the way it would with black bears.

The city is one of two municipalities covered by the Lincoln County Humane Society that doesn't have an exotic animal bylaw. City staff have pulled together a draft bylaw that lists a wide range of animals that would for most people be banned, including everything from lions and tigers to primates, alligators, dolphins and whales, venomous snakes and black widow spiders.

Most of us have seen those pathetic roadside 'zoos' in many parts of Ontario, where miserable creatures are kept in often horrific conditions for the amusement of people.

The need for a province-wide law covering exotic animals, with wording built in to guarantee the humane treatment of native species such as beers and deer, is obvious.

It's time once and for all to demand Ontario bring in legislation doing exactly that.


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Ontario city drafts exotic animal bylaw after lions, jaguar found

Exotic animal draft bylaw ready for input

Nov 06, 2009

Owning a wide array of exotic animals ranging from elephants and lions to gorillas, poisonous snakes and aardvarks could soon be illegal for most people in Thorold.

That's because the city, through the Lincoln County Humane Society, has a new draft bylaw regulating the keeping and care of animals. The bylaw is not yet approved by city council.

The bylaw, which people will be able to provide input into up to and including the Nov. 17 city council meeting, was drafted in the wake of the revelation that three lions, a jaguar and monkeys are being kept on a property in Thorold. The animals were discovered after police raided an alleged marijuana grow-op on the property next to Highway 406 recently.

The new bylaw, if adopted as it's written, does much more than just restrict exotic animals. It also contains sections stipulating the proper care of domestic animals such as cats and dogs, limits the number of pets people can in most cases have, and has provisions on dealing with dogs seemed to be dangerous.
Thorold is one of two of five municipalities covered by the Lincoln County Humane Society that doesn't have an exotic animal bylaw.

The list of prohibited animals in the bylaw includes bears, primates including monkeys and chimpanzees, non-domesticated cats including tigers, leopards, panthers and cougars among others, wolves, foxes and coyotes, reptiles such as gila monsters, vipers, cobras, alligators, pythons and anacondas, elephants, sea mammals such as dolphins and whales, and venomous spiders such as tarantula and black widow spiders.

There are exemptions for those bans, such as accredited veterinary clinics, lawful circuses or other entertainment venues, legally operated animal rescue operations or legally operated educational programs in which the animals are owned by institutions accredited by groups such as the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The bylaw also limits people to three dogs or three cats in most cases, and contains a provision requiring owners to stoop and scoop after their dogs.

In cases in which a dog bites or attacks another animal or person without provocation, the bylaw has a provision declaring such dogs dangerous, requiring a muzzle.

The bylaw also covers the adequate care of pets, including appropriate shelter, water, food and a clean and sanitary environment, and requires dogs to be licensed with the city.

City clerk Susan Daniels said in a report to city politicians that it's essentially the same bylaw adopted by the Town of Grimsby.

People who contravene the bylaw could be subject to fines under Ontario's Provincial Offences Act.

After the discovery of the big cats and monkeys in Thorold, Kevin Strooband, executive director of the local humane society, said even the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources doesn't have jurisdiction over lions and jaguars, because they're not native animals to this province.


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pennsylvania town to vote on exotic pet ordinance

On the list
Published: November 3, 2009

Freeland Council continued its meeting to December so it can vote on a proposed exotic pet ordinance.

The ordinance stems from an incident last week, when two pet pythons were reported missing from an Adams Street home, which alarmed several neighbors enough to ask council to ban some pets considered dangerous.

Anyone that keeps a pet defined as exotic or wild by the proposed ordinance is subject to a $1,000 fine, 30 days in prison or both, for each day the violation exists.

The proposed ordinance also bans the breeding, sale, adoption or transfer of pets considered exotic or wild.

The ordinance also provides rules for anyone that owns an exotic or wild pet in the borough now. Essentially, the ordinance states people must own the pet prior to Monday night's council meeting, when council announced it would advertise the ordinance for 30 days.

Those pet owners can get a $300 permit and non-conforming use status for the animal pending zoning officer approval and if they meet certain criteria set by the ordinance. Those criteria include no prior health or safety problems against the pet owner. The owner must also fill out an application that includes the animal's species, age and sex and a plan for housing the animal to prevent escape. The pet is also not allowed to roam in public freely.

When the pet dies or is removed from the home it can't be replaced.

The permit must be obtained within 30 days of council adopting the ordinance.

Anyone that keeps a wild or exotic pet in violation of the ordinance must get rid of the animal or give it to the borough police department. Officers are allowed to release the animal to the wild, a zoo, or "dispose" of it in a humane manner, depending on the type of animal. The animal's owner will pay the borough for the cost of removal or placement. The ordinance would be enforced by borough code, zoning, police and possibly a building code inspector.

Council will vote on the ordinance at its continued meeting. Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Once the ordinance is advertised it will be available for public inspection at the borough.

The two snakes reported missing Wednesday prompted Freeland police and fire departments to conduct a search of the neighborhood around 345 Adams St., looking for a nine-foot long and a four-foot long python.

Nicole Composto of 343 Adams St. who lives in the other half of the double home where the snakes went missing was so scared that she, her husband, Steve, and two small children stayed with a relative until Saturday night. At Monday's council meeting, Composto thanked the borough for its quick action in dealing with the issue and for arranging for a Vector Control exterminator to inspect the homes and try to locate the smaller snake, which is still at large.

The larger snake was found later that night but the smaller python still remains at large. Solicitor Donald Karpowich said, when talking to the snake's owner, he was told the snake likely died because its body can't handle the cold weather.

Resident Nick Lapchak, who attended Monday's council meeting said many people in the neighborhood were worried about the missing pythons.

Councilman John Budda asked if pit bulls could be added to the list of banned animals. Karpowich said he didn't think it could, but noted any dog that harms a human being or has a history of aggressive behavior is banned. Sgt. Rob Maholik said the ordinance should include any dog that harms a human or another animal and Karpowich agreed to add that to the law. Animals considered wild or exotic and, according to the ordinance, are banned from becoming pets in a Freeland home, include but aren't limited to:

Amphibians - All venomous frogs, toads, turtles.


Felines - Lions, pumas, panthers, mountain lions, leopards, jaguars, ocelots, margays, tigers, bobcats and wild cats. It excludes common domesticated cats.

Crocodilians - All alligators, caimans, crocodiles and gavials.

Dogs - Wolf, fox, coyote, dingo or the offspring of a domestic dog that was bred with such types. Also, any dog that bites, injures or attacks a human being without being provoked, or any dog deemed dangerous under state law is banned.

Pigs - All wild or domesticated swine, excluding certified Vietnamese potbellied pigs.

Reptiles - All venomous and constricting snakes, such as boa constrictors, pythons and all venomous lizards.

Venomous invertebrates - Such as spiders and scorpions.

In addition, porcupines, skunks, sub-human primates, raccoons, civets, weasels, martens, mink, wolverines, ferrets, badgers, otters, ermine and mongoose.

Vietnamese potbellied pigs must be certified as such by a nationally recognized registry or a licensed veterinarian, they must also be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and can't be bred. Owners must also keep proper documentation if they were advised against vaccination by a licensed veterinarian.

Domesticated ferrets are allowed but must be de-scented, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and not allowed to wander freely outside. Proper vaccination documentation on the pet ferret must be shown to a borough official upon request. Ferret breeding is banned.

- Amanda Christman


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