The manager of a Calgary pet store has been issued a $20,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals after a mass reptile seiszure in 2015.
The Calgary Humane Society apprehended 333 animals including snakes, tarantulas and scorpions from Riverfront Aquariums on Dec. 2, 2015.
The humane society said the seizure was the second largest in their history, and followed three smaller seizures and subsequent charges in the year prior.
On Tuesday, Riverfront Aquariums owner Michael Chow and manager Wayne Woo were found guilty of all charges they were facing in connection with the incident.
In an 18-page written decision, Provincial Court Judge Heather Lambert told court the animals were found to have inadequate food, water and shelter.
The Crown has suggested Woo should face a $20,000 fine and a lifetime animal ban. For Chow, the Crown asked for a $5,000 fine and a 10-year animal ban.
In the end, the judge issued Woo a $20,000 fine, the maximum under the Animal Protection Act, and issued a lifetime animal ban excluding fish and the dog he already owns.
Chow was fined $4,000 and handed a 10-year animal ban, excluding fish and one dog.
“This case was unique in that neither compliance nor prior Animal Protection Act charges were effective in getting the message across to the business,” Brad Nichols with the Calgary Humane Society said. “What concerns me most in this case was the apathy regarding the most basic needs of the sentient creatures in their care.”
“This landmark sentence cannot be ignored. The maximum fine is the first in our jurisdiction and one of very few in the province.”
“The prohibition ensures the subjects will never care for the type of animals that they were never equipped or motivated to care for previously,” he added.
With files from David Boushy
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