By Janet Davison
The deaths of two young New Brunswick brothers, believed to have been killed by a python, have renewed the focus on the patchwork of regulations governing exotic pets in Canada.
In the process, animal welfare groups and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies are again calling for stronger provincial laws to limit or ban the import and sale of exotic species.
In this particular case, the African rock python — the kind of giant snake the RCMP identified as responsible for the deaths of Noah Barthe, 4 1/2, and Connor Barthe, 6 — is not permitted in New Brunswick unless an exemption to an existing provincial ban has been granted.
On Tuesday, the director of communications for N.B.'s Department of Natural Resources said that the only exceptions granted would be for accredited zoos, not for someone to keep an illegal exotic animal as a pet.
Across Canada, regulations governing exotic pets vary widely, and animal welfare groups, which have long argued for stronger regulations, are again lamenting the current legal state of affairs.
"It's a bit of a mess," says Rob Laidlaw, the executive director of Zoocheck Canada.
"There's a lot of exotics that come in, many of them the regular pet trade stock, that are for all intents and purposes completely unregulated." More....