Euthanization of 46 pythons in Mission 'inhumane,' owner says
CTV British Columbia
Published Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:11PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 17, 2013 8:48PM PDT
Conservation officers have discovered and euthanized nearly 50 illegal pythons in a Mission, B.C., home.
Insp. Chris Doyle of the BC Conservation Officer Service said they were called to the house Thursday when the tenant who owned the snakes was being evicted.
Officers discovered 46 reticulated pythons, which are prohibited under the province's Wildlife Act without a permit. The longest snake was just over four metres in length.
Doyle said nobody had a permit at the house, which is located in a residential area within a couple blocks of a school.
“It was determined that no one at that residence had a permit to possess those snakes,” he said. “Those snakes did pose a risk to public safety.”
Doyle said officers found a number of other snakes and a monitor lizard that didn't fall under the province's controlled alien species regulation, as well as some restricted species like boas and other kinds of pythons.
Restricted species only become prohibited once they grow beyond a certain length.
"Some species of pythons aren't ever restricted or prohibited because they don't grow large," Doyle said.
Monitors are among the biggest lizards on the planet and some species are prohibited, though Doyle said the kind they discovered wasn't illegal.
Doyle said that although no venomous snakes were discovered, "you do have to be concerned of being bitten by any snake for risk of infection plus the injury itself."
Justin Clark, the reptiles’ evicted owner, said he didn’t think the animals should have been put down.
“They should have gave me time to get them out, and I could’ve had them shipped to Ontario that night,” he said. “They didn’t have to euthanize them. It was inhumane and wrong.”
Clark was keeping close to 100 snakes of different species in the home and is allowed to keep the surviving snakes mainly because of their type and size, if he can prove that he can take proper care of them.
“I just always had a passion for them, just the way they are,” Clark said. “They’re great animals, they’re great pets.”
Conservation officers said the snakes were well-looked after, but had no choice but to put them down.
Clark’s landlord has given him a few days to get out.
"It’s sad that all the snakes got put down,” Mickey Hobson said. “But I don’t feel guilty about this. What do you do if the guy doesn’t pay the rent?”
The incident came in the same day that 40 pythons were seized at a Brantford, Ont., motel room.
A neighbour there said Saturday that the owners of the pythons seized at a motel were trying to sell the snakes before moving to Calgary after being evicted from their home.
Natachia Lindsay says she has handled and fed the collection of snakes, worth about $900, adding they were very well kept for, none of them had ever bitten her and her step-brother had bought one of the pythons from the family.
The reptiles -- ranging in length from 30 centimetres to 1.4 metres -- were found in several plastic storage bins in the motel room and the Brantford SPCA confirmed they had been taken to a reptile aquarium in another area of the province.
Earlier this month, two young brothers were killed while sleeping at a friend's house in Campbellton, N.B., by an illegal African rock python that had escaped from its enclosure.
With a report from St. John Alexander and files from The Canadian Press