Bracebridge Council approves educational reptile show at Santa’s Village
Bracebridge Council approved an educational reptile show at Santa’s Village, in the May 10, 2023, meeting.
On May 2, the original request of Amanda Foley, owner of Amanda’s Exotic Pet’s was denied. However, recent changes have addressed concerns. In addition to acting in compliance with municipal, provincial, and federal laws, Foley will have to provide proof of animal health and humane facilities, incur any necessary costs associated with outside authorities, agencies and experts, and work closely with the Chief By-law Officer and act in accordance with the requirements of the sanction.
Foley, who said she is “passionate about animal welfare” and conservation, expressed that her goal is to educate the community. In addition to learning how to handle the animals safely, she said that she can help teach prevention about diseases that all animals, including dogs and cats, can spread. She adds, “There is a way to prevent misinformation, lack of knowledge, and improper care.”
Foley expressed, “Stigma is the enemy, not the animals.” She added that she wants to “make a positive impact on the Town” and to work within its comfort level.
Councillors debated about issues such as housing and timelines of the animals being in the Town during shows, previous By-laws and training for the department, and potential costs to the municipality.
Although Foley was raised in Bracebridge, she houses her animals in other municipalities that allow them, and they will only be in Town for the few hours of her shows and then returned back home.
Although Foley also confirmed she has a $2 million insurance coverage, Director of Finance/Treasurer, Paul Judson advised that it’s important for the Town to ensure that meaningful measures are in place regarding public safety and to inform insurance companies when events are taking place.
Councillor, Barb McMurray, expressed concern about allowing the sanction. She said, “The reason we had this By-law in place was to stop this type of thing from taking place.”
Councillor, Hammond indicated that this approval provides the Town with a chance to collect information and feedback that will help with decisions in the future.
Foley has been approved to provide shows for Santa’s Village from May 21st to September 23rd.