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Posted by W von Papinešu on March 15, 2003 at 10:45:03:
THE PROVINCE (Vancouver, British Columbia) 12 March 03 Croc keeper hopes new law will let him show off pets (David Wylie)
Kelowna: Crocodile keeper Doug Illman expects to show his beloved reptiles in public once again as soon as a new bylaw is passed.
Illman, host of a live educational show featuring crocodiles, said yesterday the new bylaw could be ready for public scrutiny by early April.
"All of our shows at schools and other venues around the city are put on hold until this bylaw is complete and passed by [Kelowna] city council and the [Central Okanagan] Regional District," he said.
"We're pretty much final unless there's a big wrench thrown into it somehow."
Illman was barred from using live animals during his Croc Talk presentation after local animal activist Sinikka Crosland brought the city's Exotic Animals Bylaw to public attention last year.
The little-known bylaw strictly prohibits the exhibition of rare and exotic animals, including crocodiles.
Illman joined a committee to update the bylaw, which included Crosland, Kelowna's SPCA manager, a local biologist, the district's chief bylaw officer and a Kelowna city councillor.
The new bylaw would forbid ownership of 25 types of animal, including certain reptiles, venomous snakes, elephants and monkeys. Illman said he hopes the bylaw will become "a model for other municipalities in the province."
The local croc buff made headlines in November when he announced plans to build a $5-million crocodilian centre that would be a sanctuary for crocodiles saved from maltreatment, a breeding ground to replenish endangered crocodile species and a major tourist attraction in the Okanagan.
Crosland, president of local animal rights group TRACS, said the committee has also been reviewing Illman's plans for the centre, and members seem to have the same goals.
She said Illman's centre would be accredited through the SPCA.
Crosland said Illman has agreed not to breed the animals, just to rescue and rehabilitate them.
Illman Said He Hopes to Open the Crocodile-Shaped Facility by May 2005.