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Gator not breaking any rules in Thorold 0

By Karena Walter, The Standard

Mike Wallace is upset that his Alligator was this this weekend. The alligator is one of several exotic pets that he owns says it was a fluke escape by the reptile from his Thorold home.  Sept 2 2013
Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/QMI Agency

Mike Wallace is upset that his Alligator was this this weekend. The alligator is one of several exotic pets that he owns says it was a fluke escape by the reptile from his Thorold home. Sept 2 2013 Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/QMI Agency

The owner of an alligator struck by a car in Thorold will have to wait another day to pick up his pet for burial.

“I’d like to bury him in my backyard, give him a little gravesite,” said Myke Wallace, 27. “He was part of my family.”

The Thorold man has to pay $150 to the Lincoln County Humane Society before he can pick up the dead gator. He hopes to do that Wednesday.

Mater, named by Wallace’s daughter after a character from Disney-Pixar’s Cars, was killed Saturday at about 2:15 a.m. near Merrittville Hwy. and Hwy. 20 after escaping from a temporary enclosure. Wallace had put the metre-long gator in an outdoor pool enclosure while he changed the alligator’s indoor enclosure.

After the alligator was hit by a vehicle, police responded and the Lincoln County Humane Society took possession of the reptile.

Wallace said he has over 50 animals from one foot to 20-feet long, including pythons, anacondas and boas constrictors. He said they are in rooms that are padlocked with one to three locks on each cage.

“In 17 years, that is the first time I’ve ever had an animal loose and it won’t happen again.”

Lincoln County Humane Society’s executive director Kevin Strooband said Tuesday the society double-checked and there was nothing illegal about the alligator in Thorold.

“There’s no law against letting these animals run at large.”

In St. Catharines, City Council will be looking at amendments to its Exotic Animal By-law in the near future.

A report for council’s Sept. 9 agenda includes staff recommendations that non-venomous snakes larger than two metres be prohibited and any animal that produces poison or venom that is medically significant to humans be banned. That could include frogs or spiders that could cause injury or death to people.

The report suggests a public meeting be held later this month before council debates the changes.

City clerk Nicole Auty said the report does not recommend an exemption for current owners.

Coun. Joe Kushner, who suggested the changes after two children were killed by an escaped python in New Brunswick earlier this summer, said bylaws of this type tend to be re-active rather an pro-active.

After the New Brunswick tragedy, he said he thought it was a good idea to limit reptiles of a certain size.

“I think it’s a good idea to have the public meeting because we might not be aware of other animals that are out there that are posing a hazard,” he said.

The bylaw change has the support of the humane society.

“I think it’s best to deter people from buying or adopting animals that they don’t necessarily know how to handle or what they’re getting into,” Strooband said. “In New Brunswick, it’s a case in point, it can happen.”

Wallace said he used to live in St. Catharines but moved to a three-acre property in Thorold where he isn’t being bothered when he’s outside with his pets.

“People don’t know you’re legally allowed to own something like that,” he said.

He said Mater was a rescue alligator he obtained when it was two years old. Mater was a baby, he said, afraid of everything and everybody.

“When I got him he was just skin and bones,” he said. “I put a lot of love into that animal to bring him back to life.”

karena.walter@sunmedia.ca

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