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Fight this exotic bylaw!


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Posted by Amanda on December 07, 2001 at 20:56:15:

To all those who love the reptile hobby and do not want to see it squashed by
ignorant bylaws!

Once again the Westcoast Society for the Protection and Conservation of Reptiles
(WSPCR) in BC Canada is fighting a city on its decision to make a bylaw
concerning reptiles. The bylaw as it currently stands prohibits certain exotic animals
from being a part of a public show. Specifically it targets all snakes, crocidilians and
turtles. The WSPCR has many educational shows involving harmless snakes. We
see our shows as essential because it is the most effective way for our volunteers to
reach the community and educate them. Education of reptile keepers and potential
reptile keepers is essential because many reptiles suffer and die every year only
because their owners did not know how to care for them properly. Our education
also focusses on creating a respect for wild reptiles. Not only do we absolutly
discourage capture of wild animals but we also help people to fear snakes less and
so help them not kill wild snakes out of fear. When the WSPCR presented the city
of Coquitlam's Parks Board with these facts and made an appeal to have the bylaw
amended to allow us to educate people with our reptile shows we were flat out
denied. The reasons given were that the city did not want to encourage people to
buy reptiles (members of the council expressed a moral repugnance at the keeping of
reptiles insisting that reptiles shoudl not be kept as pets). When asked why they
would block our well intentioned efforts but not the pet stores, which often sell sick
animals which are improperly cared for, the ignorance of the city officials on the
subject was demonstrated when they insisted that no store in Coquitlam sold reptiles
(not true, Pet Habitat in Coquitlam Center does). Not only that but they claimed that
the city soliciter is working on a bylaw to involve the sale of these animals.

This is an outrage! What gives the city the right to dictate which animals shall and
shall not be pets? They will allow us to have cats and dogs and have cat and dog
shows. They will allow us to have budgies, fish and hamsters. Tell me how it is
wrong to keep a corn snake bred for many generations in captivity compared to a
tropical fish collected in the wild where much of its natural population was destroyed
iin the process? Why are reptiles a target? People have the misconception that they
are slimy and malicious creatures but I challenge anyone who believes this to come
to one of our shows and see the intelligence in an iguanas eyes and feel the silky feel
to a snakes skin. They will not look at reptiles the same way after such an
experience.

This current trend to ban reptiles as pets is unacceptable. It is nothing more than
discrimination. Nobody can make an arguement against the keeping of reptiles in
captivity that cannot also be made for any other kind of animal being kept as a pet.
Cities think that reptile keepers are a small fringe group and so they can bully us
around and come out looking good for having "saved the reptiles" without losing too
many votes. Well I for one think that its about time reptile keepers got off their
behinds and organized to show them we will not stand for it!

Please write to the Coquitlam city councillors and show your support for the
continued flourishing of reptile keeping as a hobby. No matter where in the world
you live your e-mail or phone call will help. Even if you do not keep reptiles--if you
or your kids might enjoy the experience of seeing one up close at a show and asking
questions about it then your voice needs to be heard as well. You can reach the
Mayor Jon Kingsbury at (604) 927-3001 or jkingsbu@city.coquitlam.bc.ca. Other
addresses of councillors are available at
http://www.city.coquitlam.bc.ca/City_Goverment/Citgov2.htm. You can reach the
WSPCR at (604) 51-WSPCR or info@wspcr.com and check out our web page at
www.wspcr.com. Please join with us and show your support.

Amanda "IguanaLady" Fenrick
Secretary, WSPCR





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