LONDON RESIDENTS ONLY
Say NO to bringing dangerous, prohibited Class 7 animals back to London
Help Keep London Safe for Animals and People
ACT NOW – City Council meets on February 14, 2023
- 1. Email London City Council and your own Councillor letting them know you oppose the bylaw changes that would allow prohibited Class 7 animals back into the City.
- 2. Give your own Councillor a phone call and register your opposition to allowing a business to bring Class 7 animals into London.
- 3. Send copy of your email to email@example.com (in subject line write Exotic Animal Establishments- Bylaw amendments – for Feb 14, 2023 Council meeting agenda)
For City Council contact information (including phone numbers) CLICK HERE OR call City Hall (519) 661-2489 to find out who your Councillor is.
London City Council Email List
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DEPENDING ON WHAT HAPPENS AT LONDON CITY COUNCIL, THIS ISSUE MAY GO TO A PUBLIC PARTICIPATION MEETING IN MARCH
On February 14, 2023, London City Council will be considering changes to two London Bylaws that will bring currently prohibited Class 7 exotic animals, including dangerous species such as cobras, crocodiles and giant constricting snakes, back into London.
The two bylaw changes include an exemption to the Animal Control Bylaw that would allow the private Reptilia zoo to keep and use prohibited animals for their shopping mall zoo business. The second change is to create business licensing category to regulate exotic animal businesses, a move that could pave the way for other exotic animal zoos and businesses to seek access to the City.
London has established a reputation as a progressive and animal friendly city. In 2011, London City Council removed the definition of private zoo use from its zoning bylaw so that new private zoos couldn’t set up in the City. In 2014, the City closed the very deteriorated, old style Storybook Gardens children’s zoo and relocated the animals.
When Reptilia came to the City in 2018, London City Council said no to changing its bylaws to accommodate the business. They also said no to bylaw changes in April 2022. Somehow Reptilia proceeded to construct a zoo at Westmount Mall on Wonderland Road. Now they want permission from the City to keep prohibited animals.
Reptilia is a private commercial zoo business that displays reptiles, offers offsite live animal parties, meet and greets, traveling exhibits, stage shows and animals for all kinds of events and activities, and they also sell reptile pet products and paraphernalia that support exotic pet keeping.
Reptilia has two locations near Toronto and is trying to expand the number of Reptilia businesses in Canada. In 2020, after a comprehensive review by City staff, Toronto City Council voted unanimously against Reptilia’s request for an animal control bylaw exemption. One year later, in 2021, St. Catharines City Council also voted unanimously against Reptilia’s request for an animal control bylaw exemption.
In addition, leading animal welfare groups, humane societies and wildlife organizations, animal welfare, veterinary and human health experts, members of academia and others have expressed concern about or opposed Reptilia and the use of animals in mobile live animal programs.
WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS ABOUT THE BYLAW CHANGES?
- Animal control bylaws exist to protect human safety, animal welfare, to prevent nuisance issues and other reasons. Providing an exemption so one business can keep prohibited Class 7 animals simply because they feel those animals might help their business undermines the intent of the bylaw.
- The risk to human safety are enhanced when dangerous Class 7 animals are allowed in the City, especially when venomous snakes are kept for which snakebite treatment is not available. If dangerous animals are not in the City, there is no risk.
- Reptiles, including those species currently prohibited, are complex, active, intelligent, long-lived, often social animals that need lots of space and specialized conditions. Many of those needs are difficult or impossible to satisfy in a shopping mall zoo.
- Reptilia does not need a total exemption to operate their shopping mall zoo. Should London City Council choose to give them an exemption it should not include Class 7 prohibited animals.
- Providing an exemption and creating a licensing scheme for exotic animal establishments may pave the way for other exotic animal businesses to locate or conduct their activities in London.
- City staff do not have the expertise to properly assess reptile and exotic animal husbandry, health, welfare and safety conditions or the capacity to keep track of dozens or hundreds of offsite mobile live animal programs.
- Using exotic animals in commercial activities may promote exotic pet trade and keeping, a practice that can lead to environmental, conservation and animal welfare impacts.
- Ontario does not regulate exotic animal establishments and has only a limited ability under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act to address problems. Most issues associated with exotic animals are the responsibility of the City and dealing with them may be time consuming and costly.
- No compelling case, data or evidence has been presented that small private, exotic animal establishments can be tourist attractions that generate meaningful economic benefits to the City.