Reptilia, an exotic animal zoo, plans to open in the Canadian city of London, Ontario, despite the animal welfare advisory committee of the city opposing it. The city’s animal control bylaw bans zoos and displays of creatures including venomous snakes and crocodiles. However, the zoo still intends to open its doors in May 2022 at Westmount Shopping Centre.
Mayor Ed Holder said the company is moving forward with its plans after they obtained a license from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, and Natural Resources to keep game wildlife. But Julie Goodyer, Campaign Director for ZooCheck, said that Reptilia got a provincial permit “which means they still have to abide by local guidelines.” If the zoo ends up displaying the type of animals they display in their other two zoos in Vaughan and Whitby (non-native of Ontario), this could be a breach of local laws. The city banned zoos in 2011 and turned down an application from Reptilia to open in London in 2018. Wendy Brown, a chairperson of the city’s animal welfare advisory committee, said to the London Free Press referring to the zoo’s owner Brian Child the following: “I think the city should make sure he understands what is permitted and what is prohibited. It would be an important, pre-emptive measure to tell him what is not allowed and what is…Does the city want to have to deal with enforcing the bylaw? The city has said no to zoos.” Coun. Maureen Cassidy, chair of the city’s community and protective services committee, said: “It is clear, as a community, we have an issue with zoos and I am concerned with how this licence was issued. He is trying to find another way to get what he wants.”