STURGEON FALLS – Snakes and other critters will soon no longer be welcome in homes within West Nipissing.
An exotic pet bylaw is expected to be on the council agenda next month, but the debate around the table so far has been unanimously in favour of banning any exotic creatures from taking up residence.
“We need to go ahead with this full force,” said Coun. Denise Brisson during the Oct. 8 Committee of the Whole meeting. “We need to follow what our constituents want and the sooner the better.”
During the Sept. 10 committee meeting councillors were adamant they wanted the bylaw as restrictive as possible. “If it’s not an ordinary pet to our area, than I say no,” said Brisson, backed up by Coun. Normand Roberge who said the proposed bylaw “should be 100 percent restrictive. We don’t want any (exotic animals) in the municipality, period.”
While council would like to see the bylaw on the table as soon as possible, CAO Jay Barbeau cautions getting the enforcement aspect right may take a little time.
“Council’s wish is clear and unanimous,” he said during last week’s meeting. “But staff has to work to ensure our bylaw wording doesn’t make it unenforceable.”
He also pointed out the bylaw was not a proactive law, but “issues and response” based and that powers of entry by bylaw enforcement officers was a question yet to be answered.
“The intent is not to go door-to-door asking, do you have a big snake,” Barbeau said.
But Brisson stressed the municipality had to be reactive. “If you see someone walking down the street with a snake it would be pretty easy to follow them (home),” she said.