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Old 05-04-03, 11:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Richmond ponders ban on reptile sales

Richmond ponders ban on reptile sales

Keith Fraser
The Province

Monday, April 21, 2003
(Dawn) Paterson

A proposal to ban the sale of reptiles in Richmond has one pet-store owner scaling the walls.

City staff looked at the issue after receiving an application for a new store that wants to sell reptiles at its location on No. 3 Road.

They found the current pet bylaw was vaguely worded and sought public input before recommending that council prohibit the sale of all exotic animals, including reptiles.

Dawn Paterson, owner of Fin-omenal Fish and Exotics on No. 2 Road, said some stores fail to properly inform customers about the care of animals but denied it was a problem for her.

"I pride myself on cleanliness and knowledge for my customers," she said.

"They're all pretty much up in arms about it. It's probably at least a third of my business. If they take it out, I'm not going to be able to sell any reptile product."

A city report initially looked at an approach that would ban certain species but generally allow snakes and lizards and require certain information to be provided to buyers.

"However, the preponderance of feedback from interested groups weighed in favour of maintaining the prohibition on exotic animals, including reptiles, and this accords with the research conducted by staff," said the report.

City staff said reptiles are often bought by people who don't realize how large the animals will become nor how long they will live. Animal refuge organizations receive many animals not properly fed or cared for.

A pet industry group vehemently opposes the ban and Paterson said she intends to protest at a city hall meeting on the issue tomorrow night.

Coun. Bill McNulty worried some stores would be put out of business.

"We need to protect the animals and be responsible, but there are some species that have made good pets over the years and would continue to make good pets, as long as people take care of them."

Copyright 2003 The Province
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