Regional District of Nanaimo to look at regulating ownership of exotic animals

Directors surprised to learn of the absence of bylaws across the region

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Serval cats, monkeys and other exotic pets have become a concern for the Regional District of Nanaimo.

In Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) last October, there was an incident involving two serval cats that escaped from their cages and resulted in a domestic cat being killed before the servals were eventually captured.

Area F director Leanne Salter related to the RDN board, at its regular meeting on Nov. 22, the challenges they and other agencies encountered in trying to snare the pair of servals. She highlighted the lack of regulation and bylaw as one of the biggest concerns.

“I was out there trapping them it’s not because that’s what I do for a living and that’s what it looks like,” said Salter.

“I don’t do that for a living but there was nobody who is going to do this. Not the SPCA, not wildlife, nobody because there are no laws. They can go out and deal with domestic pets that are running amok but they cannot deal with exotic pets. There is no law. So the SPCA won’t touch it. Nobody would touch it … the police, nobody.”

READ MORE: Second escaped B.C. serval cat recovered after killing several ducks

Salter said she was not aware exotic animals are being kept as pets in her areas. She was informed about a monkey that got loose in the area and that it took a while to recapture.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Salter.

Salter presented a motion which notice has been given requesting staff prepare a report on options to ban, or if that’s not possible, regulate exotic animals including serval cats in Electoral Area F. Regulations, she indicated, would explore options to require specifications related to cages, locking mechanisms, licensing options and prohibition on live feedstock.

City of Nanaimo director Leonard Krog said he is against the importing of exotic animals and fully supported Salter’s motion,

“I applaud director Salter for this,” said Krog. “I think we should do everything reasonable to discourage this trade. It is one thing if they’re here and they’re bred here but the importation of them and the implications of it I think are bad for the planet, they’re bad for creatures, they’re bad for all of us.”

City of Parksville director Doug O’Brien said Salter’s motion is very timely as it brought to their attention the absence of any regulations and bylaws on exotic animals across the regional district. He indicated if they’re looking into this issue, he wants the regulation to be in effect in all electoral areas.

The board unanimously passed Salter’s motion.

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