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ON Press: Ban exotic animals

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Posted by W von Papinešu on September 17, 2002 at 14:22:47:

I realise that this mentions a herp issue only once, and it's very short at that, however, the quote pictures the herp concerns in the worst possible light!

OTTAWA CITIZEN (Ontario) 17 September 02 Ban exotic animals - Keep cats unleashed, staff report advises (Ken Gray)
The circus won't come to town if the Humane Society of Ottawa-Carleton has its way.
Bruce Roney, the executive director of the society, wants a ban on exotic animals used in entertainment events as part of the city's new animal care and control bylaw.
Meanwhile, a report on the new bylaw, released yesterday, indicates there should be no leashing or outdoor restrictions on cats, but owners would be responsible for any property damage they do. Cat licensing would be phased in by Jan. 1, 2005.
Of exotic animals Mr. Roney said: "We're talking about strippers with boa constrictors and tigers being brought into bars on New Year's Eve. These are all things we have experienced at the humane society. We don't think a travelling animal can have an appropriate environment."
But the staff report recommends licensing and inspection of such entertainment rather than a ban. The staff report calls for restrictions on exhibits, circuses, carnivals or other displays unless the exhibitor belongs to a recognized zoo and aquarium association, the exhibit has been inspected by the humane society, and the owner provides an acceptable habitat for the animal.
"We don't think licensing is the solution," Mr. Roney said. "We think banning is the solution."
Exotic animal exhibits are often unsafe, he added. A girl was hurt by a tiger in Mississauga recently, and several people were injured in Florida by a rampaging elephant.
"The time is over" for circuses, Mr. Roney said.
Susan Jones, the city's director of bylaw services, said licensing and inspection will deal with the humane society's concerns. The inspectors operate within provincial and federal legislation, she added. The bylaw would ensure that exotic animals are well treated and properly restrained, she said.
The staff report was presented to the emergency protective services committee.
Already about 100 speakers have reserved five minutes to speak to the committee on the bylaw. Written comments have been received from 350 people.
Other highlights include:
- Free licences to owners of cats and dogs that have been both sterilized and microchipped for identification;
- Licences set at $10 for sterilized cats and dogs and $20 for unsterilized pets;
- Dogs allowed a three-metre leash when taken for a walk;
- Some parks to be designated for leash-free dog running. Communities to choose appropriate parks;
- In urban areas, homeowners would be allowed three dogs. The limit on cats to be five. In combination, five cats and dogs would be allowed on an urban property with a maximum of three dogs in that total;
- Rural areas would have a five-dog maximum and an unlimited number of cats;
- Five rabbits could be kept on a property;
- The redemption period for impoundment for dogs and cats to be three days;
- Breaking the bylaw would result in fines of up to $5,000.
The report emphasizes education and identification as the primary methods of dealing with pet problems, Ms. Jones said.
An education program on cat care is proposed and would come out of the city's $2-million annual budget for animal control, she said.
Mr. Roney was concerned about the 2005 timetable for licensing cats.
"If cats are not identified, we won't be able to return them to their home, which is always our goal," he said.
Overall, Mr. Roney supports the bylaw which he called moderate, and expects it will pass.
Councillor Diane Deans, the chairwoman of the emergency protective services committee, said the process was not rushed and she would have no qualms about sending back the proposed bylaw for amendments.
The review of animal control legislation comes as the city organizes bylaws from the former 11 municipalities that form the new city.
The bylaw is expected to be in force by the end of this year.
The city gets about 10,000 bylaw complaints about animals annually. Of 45,000 bylaw calls, animal complaints were exceeded only by noise problems.
The city hopes the bylaw will result in some cost recovery from animal control. At present, the city funds the Humane Society of Ottawa-Carleton and covers costs for spaying and neutering, enforcement and catching strays.
Bylaw harmonization in the field was expected to be so controversial that the Ottawa transition board, charged with creating the new city, declined to deal with animal control in 2000 and left it to the new council.

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