Urge St. Catharines City Council Not to Approve Opening of Reptile Zoo in Niagara

“The Niagara Region has a long history of unregulated zoos, wildlife menageries and animal attractions, including in St. Catharines. Most of them are now gone. The City should not move backwards by allowing new unregulated exotic animal attractions within its boundaries.”

A Call-Out to Residents of Niagara, Ontario from ZooCheck Canada, a Canadian-based international wildlife protection charity established in 1984 to promote and protect the interests and well-being of wild animals.

Posted December 8th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Most of you probably already know that the Reptilia exotic animal business is coming back to St. Catharines City Council on December 12th to seek an exemption to the City’s animal control Bylaw 95-212.

Reptilia tried three times earlier this year but they pulled back each time.

That was because so many people, just like you, in St. Catharines and elsewhere, took the time to say NO by emailing, calling councillors and/or by signing up to speak to Council in opposition to the Reptilia exemption request.

Your help is needed again. If you’re a resident of St. Catharines (or the Niagara Region),  you have a ton of influence – probably far more than you might think.

Your email, your call to a councillor or your delegation to Council could change everything. It really could. We’ve seen it before, so many times on so many issues. And we know we’re all busy and there are always so many demands on our time, but please decide to take action regardless because your participation is critical.

The mere fact that you take the time to write, call or speak is a powerful message to politicians. What you write or say can be as simple or as complex as you like but the important thing is to say something. Take a few minutes and do something and we can push this back again, maybe for good. 9/10 of the battle is just showing up.

If you’ve never called a politician or spoken to a Council, we understand it can be intimidating especially if you’re actually standing in a Council chamber for the first time, but you can now do meetings by Zoom or by phone.

You can write your comment out and just read it as your delegation to Council out of the comfort of your own home. And a call on the phone can just be you expressing your opinion.

You don’t need to be an expert, you don’t need to know a million facts, you only need to have an opinion. If that sounds easy, that’s because it is. And realize in most towns and cities if a Member of Council gets even 10 calls about an issue, it’s a hot issue that deserves attention. 

If a meeting has 30 people standing up to voice their concerns, it’s noticed. Let’s make that happen. Make sure you’re one of the 10 or one of the 30.

There are three more business days until a vote, so you have to act right away.

The average lifespan of a zoo in Ontario is at least 30 years and its almost impossible to close a zoo once it opens. Once a zoo is set up, it will be there for a very long time. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.  So do your part and join with us to convince St. Catharines City Council to turn down the Reptilia request.

Read below for background and how to take action.



  *   Reptilia, a private exotic animal business needs an exemption from St. Catharines By-Law 95-212 to set up their zoo, keep prohibited animals, like crocodiles, venomous reptiles and giant constricting snakes, and to use exotic animals in events throughout the City.

  *   In 2013, after an African Rock python killed two young boys in New Brunswick, St. Catharines By-Law 95-212 was updated by prohibiting the dangerous animals Reptilia now wants to keep. Changes to the By-Law will make St. Catharines less safe. If dangerous animals are not in the community, they pose no danger to anyone. If they are here, they do.

  *   If Reptilia receives an exemption, they will be able to bring in other kinds of prohibited animals and the City won’t be able to do anything about it. As well, other exotic animal businesses may want exemptions as well.

  *   Reptilia and its exotic animals are not licensed or regulated in Ontario and there no comprehensive criteria for exotic animal zoos and wildlife menageries.

  *   The Ontario Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act, Ontario’s anti-cruelty legislation, provides only very limited protections to exotic wildlife in captivity through a non-comprehensive set of captive wildlife standards of care. The Act  does not address possession, acquisition, sale, trade or breeding of exotic animals, a significant range of exotic wildlife husbandry and welfare problems, zoonotic disease risks, environmental risks posed by exotic species, promotion and growth of the exotic pet trade, nuisance issues, municipal/provincial capacity to deal with excess exotic animals, education conservation and other issues. Dealing with many of these concerns and the costs associated with them is the responsibility of the municipalities in which they are located. That means the City of St. Catharines and the taxpayers.

  *   Animal welfare and wildlife protection organizations, veterinarians, animal welfare scientists and academics have opposed Reptilia being granted an exemption to By-Law 95-212 for animal welfare, human safety, environmental protection and other reasons. Reptilia has also been opposed in other cities.

  *   After a thorough multi-agency review by Toronto Animal Services division, the City of Toronto rejected Reptilia’s request for an amendment to their bylaw.

  *   The Niagara Region has a long history of unregulated zoos, wildlife menageries and animal attractions, including in St. Catharines. Most of them are now gone. The City should not move backwards by allowing new unregulated exotic animal attractions within its boundaries.



Send your email to: correspondence@stcatharines.ca<mailto:correspondence@stcatharines.ca>     (See sample text at bottom of this page and make sure to mention you are writing about the Reptilia exemption request and Report EDTS 189-2022)


Send your email to:  bwilliamson@stcatharines.ca<mailto:bwilliamson@stcatharines.ca>, bphillips@stcatharines.ca<mailto:bphillips@stcatharines.ca>, cgarcia@stcatharines.ca<mailto:cgarcia@stcatharines.ca>, ddodge@stcatharines.ca<mailto:ddodge@stcatharines.ca>, gmiller@stcatharines.ca<mailto:gmiller@stcatharines.ca>, jlindal@stcatharines.ca<mailto:jlindal@stcatharines.ca>, ktownsend@stcatharines.ca<mailto:ktownsend@stcatharines.ca>, mstevens@stcatharines.ca<mailto:mstevens@stcatharines.ca>, mharris@stcatharines.ca<mailto:mharris@stcatharines.ca>, rmcpherson@stcatharines.ca<mailto:rmcpherson@stcatharines.ca>, cratzlaff@stcatharines.ca<mailto:cratzlaff@stcatharines.ca>, mayor@stcatharines.ca<mailto:mayor@stcatharines.ca>, correspondence@stcatharines.ca<mailto:correspondence@stcatharines.ca>

(mention you are writing about the Reptilia exemption request and Report EDTS 189-2022)


CLICK HERE FOR COUNCILLOR CONTACT INFORMATION<https://www.stcatharines.ca/en/council-and-administration/ward-councillors.aspx>


Go to  https://www.stcatharines.ca/en/council-and-administration/presenting-to-council.aspx and scroll down to the Request a Delegation to City Council link.

About Zoocheck Canada – Zoocheck is a Canadian-based international wildlife protection charity (#13150 2072 RR0001) established in 1984 to promote and protect the interests and well-being of wild animals. Zoocheck works with a broad range of collaborating partners around the world.

Zoocheck endeavors to promote animal protection in specific situations and strive to bring about a new respect for all living things and the world in which they live.

Fore more information on Zoocheck Canada, click on – https://www.zoocheck.com

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders



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