Sudbury, Ont., rescue center says it is doing its best after careful consideration of its ability to care for animals
An organization called World Animal Protection has identified an animal rescue center in Sudbury, Ont., as one of 11 facilities in the province that are in violation of Ontario regulations.
Michèle Hamers, campaign manager at World Animal Protection, said the enclosures at Northern Exotics in Sudbury are too small.
Hamers said Northern Exotics reptiles were only able to perform their roosting behaviors due to limited space.
“Reptiles are incredibly diverse, are incredibly mobile, have interesting behaviors like play behaviors and the like, and these animals haven’t been able to engage in them because of the small tanks they’re kept in,” he said. she declared.
We have two, two alligators, we have a crocodile, we have a Burmese python, we have primates, we have a porcupine.— Dennis Epp, owner of Northern Exotics in Sudbury
Hamers said World Animal Protection visited facilities across the province and submitted inspection reports to the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS), which is responsible for enforcing provincial animal welfare regulations. to be animal.
Hamers said the province confirmed receiving their reports, but did not say more.
“In our view, none of the zoos are doing this well or enough,” Hamers said.
She added that although representatives from World Animal Protection have visited zoos like Northern Exotics, they have not spoken with the owners.
Dennis Epp, the owner of Northern Exotics, told CBC News that the majority of their animals are depots and rescues.
“We use their stories to educate people about them,” he said.
“And that’s why you’ll see that a lot of our animals are missing parts of their tails or have other healed wounds, which are from their past lives before they came to us.”
Epp said he had a background in conservation, biology and environmental science, and loved animals. He said he doesn’t support people who acquire large exotic pets, but wants to make sure that in the event of abandonment or abandonment, they have a place to go.
“Animals have always been a big part of my life,” he said.
Northern Exotics has an education center, where visitors pay a small fee to see the animals and learn more about them. It also has an attached pet store, which sells common lizards, turtles and birds, and operates the education center.
“We have a few others who shouldn’t be in the pet business, but they’re here too because some people thought they should try,” he said.
It’s not a perfect world. And it gets to the point where you just have to do your best for what it is.— Dennis Epp, owner of Northern Exotics in Sudbury
“We have two, two alligators, we have a crocodile, we have a Burmese python, we have primates, we have a porcupine.”
He said their nine-foot Burmese python was kept in a gym bag all its life, before someone bought it for $50 and brought it to them.
“And now she’s like, maybe it’s not as big as some would like to see for her, but it’s way better than what she was living in,” Epp said.
“She couldn’t even roll. She was just in a gym bag.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Epp said the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) inspected Northern Exotics twice a year and never made recommendations to them.
Inspections have been less frequent since the pandemic.
Epp said he would like to have more space for the animals and was looking to move to a bigger space. But rising interest rates have made this difficult. However, he said the facility still has a year left on its lease. He hopes to have a larger building secure by then.
“We know we’re limited in space and we want to get out,” he said.
“It’s not a perfect world. And it gets to the point where you just have to do your best for what it is. When you put that lizard in a little container, yeah you put it in a much bigger one. something where he can do things, but maybe it’s not as big as others would like.”