Archived Letter – 543

My heart goes out to the families of the 2 children killed by a python this past week. However, I write this letter on behalf of all the responsible pet owners who fear the media sensationalism that has followed & the cries for pet bans as a result. I have worked with exotics for over 30 years, & just like dog owners, we love our pets, they are part of our family. Unfortunately just like dog owners, not all owners are responsible. Statistically – dogs injure & kill more people than all exotics combined. Yet every time we hear of Fido attacking someone, people don’t shout “ban all dogs”. Dogs can also spread a multitude of diseases, including Salmonella. The last time someone was killed in Canada by a pet snake was 1992. 2 fatal attacks in 11 years hardly seems like a call to arms.
I also fear that many towns will race to impose new laws & in haste will not consult experts. Elmira leaned on the Humane Society drafting their bills- an organization that knows a great deal about dogs & cats, but they themselves admit they have no expertize in exotics- resulting in some misguided bans & some very factual & legal issues that could result it the law being overturned if it ever went to court !
Some municipalities require exotics to be registered with the town. If you truly want control, this is the best way to go. Exotics can be bought easily, & if banned will be kept in secret. However, if the only requirement is to let people know you have an animal, owners are far more forthcoming and the city will be much better informed as to what is in its own borders.

Lance Henderson, H.B.A., C.I.P.