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Canadian animal protection groups: Federal exotic pet laws needed

Dec. 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM

TORONTO, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- In the wake of the discovery of a monkey wandering outside a Toronto Ikea store, animal protection groups said they want stricter laws for exotic pet owners.

Darwin, a little rhesus macaque wearing a faux-shearling coat and a diaper and spotted by shoppers in the parking lot of the North York Ikea Sunday, has touched off a call for federal exotic pet laws, CBS News reported Wednesday.

Yasmin Nakhuda, a Toronto lawyer who said she was given Darwin by a client and at first didn't care for him, paid a $240 fine for violating Toronto's prohibited-animal law. Darwin had escaped from her car.

The monkey was taken to a sanctuary and although Nakhuda said she wants the monkey back, she said would consider leaving him at the sanctuary if that would be best for the monkey.

"It's just a complete mess right across the country," said the executive director at Zoocheck Canada, Rob Laidlaw, referring to the exotic animal laws in Canadian municipalities.

Some provinces have laws prohibiting certain exotic creatures, particularly those considered to endanger public health, but others -- Ontario included -- leave the laws to the municipalities, Laidlaw said.

"The ideal situation would be federal legislation," said Peter Fricker, a spokesman for the Vancouver Humane Society.

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