The deaths of two New Brunswick boys who were strangled by a large python highlighted the need for strict regulations concerning exotic pets. When this tragic incident occurred last August I immediately called Jonathan Shecter, City Clerk and Director of Legal Services asking him to investigate what responsibility the municipality has.

“What we have in Canada is a patchwork of different municipal bylaws and provincial regulations,” Melissa Mallow, a spokesperson for the World Society for Protection of Animals, told CTV News.

She said her organization has been calling on Canadian provinces to take on the responsibility of regulating the sale and ownership of exotic animals especially those that may pose a danger to people and the environment.

“Municipal bylaws are usually passed in response to a particular incident that happened in a community but they may not restrict all the animals that are potentially dangerous and difficult to care for,” Matlow said.

Shecter confirmed that the municipality had jurisdiction in this matter and consulted with other cities on the Island of Montreal to learn what bylaws they had in place. Cote Saint-Luc subsequently borrowed heavily from a Beaconsfield bylaw.

At this week’s public council meeting I gave notice of motion on the adoption of a new bylaw that will protect our residents from  potentially dangerous animals that are not usually domesticated.

Once adopted it will be prohibited and considered an offence to keep:

(1) all marsupiala (kangaroos, opossum, etc.);

(2) all non-human primates (monkey, chimpanzee, etc.);

(3) all felines, except the domestic cat;

(4) all canines, except the domestic dog;

(5) all viverridea (civet, mongoose, etc.);

(6) all mustelidea (weasel, otter, ermine, etc.) except the domestic ferret;

(7) all ursidea (bear, panda, etc.);

(8) all ungulate artiodactyla (camel, boar, etc.);

(9) all hyenas;

(10) all ungulate perissodactyla (rhinoceros, tapir etc.);

(11) all elephants;

(12) all pinnipedia (seal, walrus, sea lion, etc.);

(13) all snakes of the python and boa family;

(14) all poisonous reptiles;

(15) all diurnal and nocturnal raptors (eagle, owl, etc.);

(16) all edentate (anteater, armadillo, etc.);

(17) all bats;

(18) all crocodilians;

(19) all ratie birds (ostrich, emu, etc.);

(20) all gallinaceous (rooster, pheasant, etc.);

(21) all pigeons, gulls, sea gulls and little wild animals such as squirrels, skunks, racoons and others.

The Montreal Police Department will have control to insure the respect of this by-law and will be authorized to visit and examine inside and outside any property.

Anyone contravening the bylaw could face a fine ranging from $100 to $2000.

This bylaw will close the loop often left open by cities across Canada and will ensure the safety and security of our residents against otherwise dangerous animals. So while your pet cat, dog or even turtle needn’t fear because of this municipal bylaw it is unlikely you’ll see a neighbour walking their pet emu, crocodile or python down the block anytime soon.

Update: City Council adopted this bylaw on April 9, 2014.