Nov 6, 2013

 

The new bylaw is in full effect, yet it seems there are still places selling banned animals, and I have not heard of any charges being made for people in contravention of the bylaw.  While the COO of Animal Services has said that it is his interpretation that any member of a Boa/Python species "capable" of reaching greater than the 2m restricted size is illegal, the chief veterinary office of the province has published a report that states that the Winnipeg Bylaw allows the city to "seize and confiscate a prohibited animal immediately where the animal outgrows its regulated size".  Which is the interpretation most people have made about the wording of the bylaw.  Which is great news for people with IJ Carpet Pythons and Brazilian Rainbow Boas that Mr. Gordon interprets as being illegal to own/sell now.


Sept 10, 2013

 

So, its been almost 2 months since the new "Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw" was passed, and we are still waiting for answers on what is and isn't legal in Winnipeg.

 

Most of the bylaw is straightforward, you can see it here:

 

http://winnipeg.ca/CLKDMIS/DocExt/ViewDoc.asp?DocumentTypeId=1&DocId=6054&DocType=O

 

Schedule "A", prohibited animals, starts on page 29.

 

If you have an animal that was previously legal, but now is not, you can "grandfather" it by registering it with the city, using the form found here:

 

http://www.winnipeg.ca/cms/animal/pdfs/Prohibited_Animal_Registration.pdf

 

If you want to keep a prohibited animal, you can get a special permit to do so.  I'm going to apply to keep the dangerous Anole and a deadly Emperor Scorpion.  Here is the form:

 

http://winnipeg.ca/cms/animal/pdfs/Special_Permit_Application.pdf



Unsure if your animal is legal now, or was before?  There were grey areas that this bylaw was supposed to address.  So there are some animals whose previous legal standing is unsure.  Grandfathering one of those animals which you may believe was legal, but Animal Services does not could lead to it being seized and a fine levied.  So many in the reptile community are in a quandary.  Do they register some or all of their animals, risking having charges laid, or just fly under the radar.  

 

We have been trying to get answers from animal services, I posed many days after it was passed, and only after a number of requests to my local councillor did I finally get a partial response to my queries, which prompted more questions.

 

Here is the response from Michael Jack, solicitor for the City, which outlines my questions:

 

Mr. McFarlane,

 

I have been asked to provide you with a response to the series of questions you have posed to Leland Gordon and Councillor Mayes over the last several months.  That is the purpose of this message.

 

Your specific questions have been reproduced below, along with the City’s response thereto:

 

 

Anoles are members of the Iguananidae family, and are hence banned.  You want each one identified individually? 

 

Yes.

 

With sex and age? 

 

Yes.

 

I would assume approximates are OK? 

 

Yes.

 

Does a citizen need to do one page for each animal, or can he do his whole colony?

 

All animals on one page will be sufficient.

 

I have customers that have groups of 10 or more, that breed regularly to maintain the colony, how will that be handled?  Will they be forced to destroy any new babies that hatch?

 

Your customers will be required to cease breeding and separate males from females.  Babies will not have to be destroyed.

 

Guinea Pigs are 1.5 to 3 lbs, Prairie Dogs are .5 to 2.5 lbs, so are Guinea Pigs considered “large rodents”?

 

No.

 

In the text of the bylaw, Pink Toe Tarantulas are defined by only Avicularia, but no species name.  So are all Avicularia species are legal?  Including the Goliath Pink Toe Avicularia Braunshausni that gets to 9”?

 

Yes, all Avicularia species are legal under the RPO By-law, including the Goliath Pink Toe Avicularia Braunshausni.

 

Measurements.  Bylaw states “reaching an adult length” as a determining factor on legality.  But who’s definition of length is not defined.   For instance, most sources state that Brazillian Rainbow Boas are 4.5 to 5.5 feet at adult size.  But some mention that 7 foot specimens may occur.  With 2m being 6’6”, would these be legal under the new bylaw, and not need to be grandfathered or regulated?  I have 2 that are 1.5m and 1.8m, do I need to grandfather them, or will they be considered legal under the new bylaw?

 

This is the only one of your questions to which the City does not yet have a definitive answer.  Mr. Gordon has engaged in discussion with Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada (PIJAC) on this question, and is still awaiting a response.  We will provide you with a complete response to this question once available.

 

The scientific standard in measuring reptiles is snout to vent, as tail length is immaterial to the actual size of the animal.  Would I be correct in assuming that you are using this method of measurement for snakes and lizards in your bylaw?

 

No, the City will be using the distance from snout to tip of tail as the relevant measurement.

 

 

I trust the foregoing will be of assistance as you and your customers prepare for compliance with the new By-law.  As aforementioned, we will provide you with a definitive answer regarding “adult length” once we have received further necessary information.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly with any further questions or comments.

 

Yours truly,

 

Michael A. Jack
Director of Legal Services and City Solicitor



 

 After receiving that response, I sent him an additional list of questions, which I have been advised we shall get answers to promptly.  I would hope so, as the deadline is barely a month away.

 

 

Thank you for your response. It is reassuring that Mr. Gordon is looking to outside help from industryexperts like PIJAC.  

Wehave had a number more questions posed since I sent those ones a month and ahalf ago.  They are a little more specific to our present situation movingfrom one bylaw to the other.


Furtherto grandfathering, there has been debate about what was legal under the oldbylaw. Some clarification is needed. It has been mentioned that animal servicesregards the use of “all their known races” to mean any relatives of thespecified animals in the same genus. Specifically, rainbow boas and dumerilboas, which are not mentioned specifically in the old bylaw have been seized inthe past as being in contravention, but then returned. Is it the position ofAnimal Services that these were illegal animals under the previous bylaw, andtherefore not able to be grandfathered?

A morecontentious issue is Carpet Pythons. In the old bylaw, the common name Diamondor Carpet Python was mis-identified with the scientific name Morelia argusPython. The previous Animal Control Officer did not consider IJ Carpet Pythonsto be illegal, but I have heard that the current animal services had seizedthese animals, although I don’t believe any fines were collected or convictionswere made. Will IJ Carpet Pythons be eligible for grandfathering?

Anotheranimal misidentified in the old bylaw is the Savannah Monitor. The Cape Monitor(Varanus exanthematicus albigularis), also known as the Rock Monitor isidentified in the old bylaw, whereas the Savannah Monitor (Varanusexanthematicus) is not. Rock Monitors are heavier bodied and larger thanSavannah Monitors, originally thought to be a subspecies ( a race) of Savannahmonitors, but later reclassified as Varanus albigularis. Again, the previousCOO of animal control did not have a problem with these animals being kept orsold in the city. Also, these animals have an average total length between 85and 100 cm, it can reach up to 130 cm with a head-body length of app. 55cm. So,if the new bylaw goes on snout/vent length, they will be legal, or if it isbased on average adult size regardless measuring method, they are legal, notneeding to be grandfathered.

Thankyou for your assistance in this matter.

JeffMcFarlane


 

 

 

Jeff,

We have attempted to answer your questions - both your questions and the responses appear below:

Question

Further to grandfathering, there has been debate about what was legal under the old bylaw. Some clarification is needed. It has been mentioned that animal services regards the use of “all their known races” to mean any relatives of the specified animals in the same genus. Specifically, rainbow boas and dumeril boas, which are not mentioned specifically in the old bylaw have been seized in the past as being in contravention, but then returned. Is it the position of Animal Services that these were illegal animals under the previous bylaw, and therefore not able to be grandfathered?
 
Response

Moving forward, snakes which are now illegal and were of the same genus as snakes specifically listed in the former Exotic Animal Bylaw, but were a different species will be grandfathered given the snake was owned prior to passage of the bylaw. 

 

Question

A more contentious issue is Carpet Pythons. In the old bylaw, the common name Diamond or Carpet Python was mis-identified with the scientific name Morelia argus Python. The previous Animal Control Officer did not consider IJ Carpet Pythons to be illegal, but I have heard that the current animal services had seized these animals, although I don’t believe any fines were collected or convictions were made. Will IJ Carpet Pythons be eligible for grandfathering?

Response

These were clearly illegal under the former bylaw and remain illegal if the specific species/subspecies fails to comply with the length limit.
 
Question

Another animal misidentified in the old bylaw is the Savannah Monitor. The Cape Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus albigularis), also known as the Rock Monitor is identified in the old bylaw, whereas the Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) is not. Rock Monitors are heavier bodied and larger than Savannah Monitors, originally thought to be a subspecies ( a race) of Savannah monitors, but later reclassified as Varanus albigularis. Again, the previous COO of animal control did not have a problem with these animals being kept or sold in the city. Also, these animals have an average total length between 85 and 100 cm, it can reach up to 130 cm with a head-body length of app. 55cm. So, if the new bylaw goes on snout/vent length, they will be legal, or if it is based on average adult size regardless measuring method, they are legal, not needing to be grandfathered.

Response

Savannah monitors are illegal now, however will be grandfathered given the monitor was owned prior to passage of the bylaw. 

 

I trust the above answers your questions.
 
 

He has answered some of the questions, but still, the most nagging one, who's standards will be applied to what the actual adult size of animals can be has not been answered, and we have less than a month to go.


I received this link in an email from PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council)

 

I think we should adapt this for Manitoba.  A puppy mill legislation with teeth.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128739300/Standards-of-Care-for-Breeders-of-Companion-Animals-Act







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