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May 8, 2000
Toronro Public Health Lays Charges Against Snake Owner
  
On Saturday May 6, Toronto Public Health laid 14 charges against the owner of
20 snakes, one of which escaped and was later located in the owner's Queen
Street West apartment last Monday, May 1.

Kent Parsons was charged under City of Toronto By-law 28-1999 with 14 counts of
keeping prohibited animals within the city. Under the by-law, no venomous or
poisonous animals can be kept within the city limits. Mr. Parsons was charged
for each of the 14 different species of snakes kept in his apartment.

"Thanks to a cooperative effort by Public Health, Animal Services, ambulance
staff, police and zoo staff, this dangerous snake was captured without physical
injury to anyone involved. However, this situation demonstrates that keeping
such dangerous animals in an urban setting is a serious threat to public health
and safety. Although the city has a by-law against possession of these animals,
Toronto Public Health has asked the provincial and federal governments to
prohibit the importation of all poisonous and venomous animals" said Dr. Sheela
Basrur, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto.

Mr. Parsons is scheduled to appear in court on May 16. If found guilty, each
charge carries a maximum fine of $5,000.

All the snakes were removed from the apartment, and were taken to a reptile zoo
east of Peterborough.


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