A metre-long python was among a number of animals seized in south Nanaimo last week.
B.C. SPCA was acting on information from the public and the B.C. Conservation Officer Service assisted in the execution of a search warrant Jan. 18 near Nanaimo Airport, said Tina Heary, B.C. SPCA senior animal protection officer. There were more than 30 animals involved, she said, including reptiles and assorted species of small animals “from cats to rabbits and rodents” and the animals were subsequently surrendered by the owner, according to Heary.
The animals were brought to various facilities on the Island and mainland.
“There were a number of issues at hand, including the living conditions and lack of veterinary treatment,” said Heary. “Some of the reptiles were in critical distress … based on the conditions of when they were found, immediate veterinary intervention was arranged after departing from the property and due to the poor conditions they were euthanized at veterinary hospitals.” Heary said she couldn’t provide further detail as the investigation is active and ongoing.
A reticulated python was seized by the conservation service as it isn’t allowed under the Controlled Alien Species Regulations.
“You must have a permit to own one of those. This person did not, so we seized that,” said Stuart Bates, conservation officer.
The python was transported to reptile facility on the Lower Mainland and appeared to be in good health, according to Bates.
Heary said the SPCA will recommend charges, but it is too early to say what they will be as it must still compile a report to Crown counsel. Bates said it’s too early to say whether the conservation service will recommend charges, but a fine for a first offence could net someone a fine ranging from $115 to $100,000 and/or one year in jail.