Sask. exotic pet regulations “outdated”; review underway

REGINA – As the country mourns two young boys killed by an African Rock python in New Brunswick, it just so happens Saskatchewan is reviewing its regulations on exotic pets.

The regulations date back to the early 1980’s, stating that boas and pythons, regardless of type or size, are prohibited. After several decades, however, times are changing.

“With the online sales of pets, that’s becoming an escalating problem,” said Lyle Saigeon, from the ministry of environment.

Exactly which snakes are legal varies from province to province. Also, the changes in scientific classifications of pythons mean some of the regulations do not cover the snakes anymore.

“We’re trying to be consistent with other jurisdictions with how we approach this and we don’t want to leave any gaps unaddressed,” Saigeon said.

Stuart Cook of Prairie Aquatics and Exotics says snakes are safe pets, and that “very few could be considered even remotely dangerous”. He believes the laws “are severely outdated”.

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“It’s very restrictive when it comes to harmless stuff and it allows stuff that could be like crocodiles,” he said.

In Regina, there is a crocodile at Cow Town. ‘Coco’ has been there for 11 years with no problems.

“We got her out of a farm in BC and we just wanted something as an attraction for the store,” said assistant manager Kent Reich.

The province is unsure when a review of the regulations will be completed.

If someone is caught with a prohibited exotic pet in Saskatchewan, they could face charges and animal will be confiscated.

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