Yesterday, Reptilia withdrew their application for amendments to City of St. Catharines By-Law 95-212 that would have allowed them to set up a zoo in a City shopping center, keep prohibited animals (including venomous snakes) and to use animals in events within city limits.

This is the 3rd time Reptilia has taken this kind of action. In January, just prior to a scheduled public meeting they asked for deferral to submit additional information. Just prior to a scheduled second public meeting, they withdrew their application and now they’ve done it again a third time.
Thank you to everyone who wrote emails and letters and to St. Catharines residents who contacted their own city councilors. It made a huge difference.

Thank you also to all of the animal welfare, conservation and other organizations and animal welfare, wildlife trade, public health experts and veterinarians who have weighed in on this issue. . We will more formally identify and thank everyone who helped in the near future.

In the meantime, we continue to monitor the situation to see if Reptilia will come back with a 4th attempt at acquiring a by-law exemption. Please stay tuned!

Submission Deadline – April 25


  • Reptilia wants an exemption from Exotic Animal By-Law 95-212 so they can set up a zoo in St. Catharines, keep prohibited animals, like giant constricting snakes, crocodiles, venomous reptiles and other animals, and to transport exotic animals “to any off-site educational project, training or authorized special event activities with the City limits.”

  • To protect public safety in St. Catharines many of those high-risk and dangerous reptiles were prohibited and added to By-Law 95-212 in 2013.
  • Exotic animal events, especially when they involve contact with animals pose a recognized zoonotic disease risk to members of the public designated as being at high-risk of infection, especially children up to 5 years of age, senior citizens and others considered by public health agencies to be at elevated levels of risk. Current Reptilia locations near Toronto offer children’s birthday parties, meet and greets, corporate events, stage show and exhibits, that can involve animal interactions.
  • Animal welfare groups and experts have serious concerns about the keeping of exotic animals indoors in conditions that lack space, stimulation and an ability for animals to move and behave normally.
  • Exotic animals can experience discomfort, stress and suffering when transported from place to place for offsite events and activities and while being kept in travel containers onsite.
  • Granting one exemption to the by-law will encourage other exotic animal businesses to seek exemptions.
  • Reptilia’s selling of reptile pet products and supplies supports the reptile pet trade and the use of live animals for parties, meet and greets and other events may promote the keeping of exotic pets.
  • Increased numbers of exotic pets create enhanced risks to local wildlife and environments, create unnecessary work for City staff who may not be equipped to deal with exotic animal issues, and waste taxpayer dollars.
  • In December 2021, after an exhaustive investigation by Toronto Animal Services, both Toronto City Council and the Economic and Community Development Committee unanimously voted to deny Reptilia an exemption to Toronto’s animal control bylaw.




(Deadline: April 25th )

(Non-residents please scroll down for instructions)

Send an email directly to St. Catharines City Council. Tell them you’re a resident of St. Catharines or the Niagara Region and that you oppose Reptilia’s request for an exemption to By-Law 95-212. The by-law shouldn’t be undermined to allow a commercial reptile zoo that will promote live animal events throughout the City. It would be a backwards step for the City, pose risks to humans and be negative for animals.

Cut and paste the following St. Catharines City Council list into your email program:,,,,,,,,,,,,

SAMPLE EMAIL TEXT (writing your own text is more effective)

TO: Mayor and Members of Council, City of St. Catharines
SUBJECT: Deny the Reptilia request to amend Exotic Animals By-Law 95-212 (Report EDTS 205-2021)
I’m writing to urge you to deny the request to amend By-Law 95-212 that would allow Reptilia to set up a private zoo, keep dangerous prohibited reptiles in the City and transport and use live animals in children’s parties, meet and greets, corporate events, shows and other commercial activities throughout St. Catharines.
Undermining By-Law 95-212, exploiting animals and making the City less safe simply because a private commercial zoo business wants to set up makes no sense. St. Catharines should be better than that. Please protect animals, people, our environment and City resources by denying the request for a Reptilia exemption to By-Law 95-212.