By Douglas Quan
Animal-welfare and public-safety advocates said Tuesday a python attack that killed two boys in New Brunswick highlights the need for lawmakers to address the mishmash of municipal and provincial regulations governing exotic-pet ownership.
A report commissioned last year by the Public Health Agency of Canada found that there were “significant gaps” in the ability of government to identify and respond to risks posed by exotic animals and that there was “no mechanism to prioritize” a regulatory response, according to a summary of its findings.
Only when tragedies strike do these gaps ever get any attention, report co-author Patricia Farnese, a professor of agriculture and wildlife law at the University of Saskatchewan, said Tuesday.
“It is hit and miss in terms of how pro-active jurisdictions are in terms of who can own exotic pets,” she said.
“We need to decide if we want people to own things that have a capacity to escape and kill. We need to have this discussion.”
RCMP Sgt. Alain Tremblay told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that a large African rock python had escaped from a glass cage in an apartment above the Reptile Ocean store in Campbellton, N.B., and made its way through a ventilation system into the room where brothers Noah Barthe, 4, and Connor Barthe, 6, were sleeping. More....