More than 100 charges have been laid against a man after nearly 700 reptiles and amphibians were found neglected or dead following a house fire in November 2021.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services was called to a fire at a single-family home in the area of 20 Avenue and 112A Street early in the afternoon on Nov. 10, 2021.
When crews arrived, the house was engulfed in smoke. The flames were brought under control in about 30 minutes and when crews got inside, an EFRS spokesperson said “thousands of reptiles were found inside the home, (the) majority of which were deceased.”
In an update on Tuesday, Edmonton police said the number was actually almost 700 animals.
After the fire, police said the reptiles and amphibians appeared to be seriously neglected and many had died before the blaze and Edmonton Animal Care and Control was called in.
Due to the quantity and condition of the animals, the EPS animal cruelty investigative unit was called in.
“When we think of ‘animal cruelty’ our minds almost always go to cats and dogs,” Const. Ilka Cunningham said.
“This investigation is a sad reminder of the suffering many exotic reptiles endure at the hands of breeders and importers.”
John Makaryshyn, 31, is facing a total of 126 charges: 37 counts under the Animal Cruelty section of the Criminal Code and 89 charges under the Animal Protection Act of Alberta.
The charges centre around not providing necessary food and water, not providing care, causing unnecessary pain and failure to protect the animal from cold or heat.
Environment Canada Wildlife officers also assisted in the investigation.
— With files from Caley Gibson, Global News