By Monique Chiasson
TRURO DAILY NEWS
TRURO – The Town of Truro has unanimously passed an exotic pets bylaw.
A second, and final, reading of the proposed bylaw was agreed on at town council on Monday afternoon.
The bylaw, which cannot be appealed, defines an exotic pet as any animal that’s not a dog, cat or livestock. Exotic pets will be allowed in the owner’s home but must be in an escape-proof enclosure if taken outside. For pet owners who don’t adhere to the bylaw, the town has authority to seize the pet, without notice, and destruction or adoption of the pet is possible based on safety issues. Upon seizure of a pet, the owner would have a week to retrieve it after showing cause as to why it shouldn’t be destroyed or adopted.
In addition, pet owners found in violation of the bylaw could face a minor criminal offence and be fined between $100 and $1,000, which would be determined by court, and possible imprisonment of six months.
David Watters, a Lyman Street resident, voiced his objections to the bylaw during the council meeting.
“To limit (owners) to taking (their pet) out is abhorrent,” said Watters, who does not own an exotic pet. “You are limiting the rights of a person.”
Watters told the Truro Daily News he wanted to speak out on the issue even though he doesn’t own a reptile. His passion for the topic arose after reading about it in this paper.
“The rule of the law is being applied to the minority. It’s ridiculous,” Watters said.
The bylaw “does not prohibit exotic pets. There are towns that have a complete ban; not here,” clarified town solicitor John Rafferty.
“We just want them to be under control,” added Mayor Bill Mills. “It’s an attempt to respect our fellow citizens and neighbours. A lot of people like (exotic pets), however, a large (portion of the) population is uncomfortable. Some have severe reactions … racing hearts, panic … a significant number of people have expressed concern.”
Coun. Tom Chisholm added, “it’s about respect for citizens. We are not anti-snake or reptile.”