Ontario city drafts exotic animal bylaw after lions, jaguar found

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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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