Earlier this month, an African rock python escaped its cage at the Reptile Ocean pet store in Campbellton, New Brunswick, and asphyxiated Noah Barthe, 4, and his brother Connor, 6, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
The snake is banned in New Brunswick under bylaw S-3, adopted in 2005, which states "no person shall have, keep or possess" a variety of prohibited animals, including a "venomous or constrictor reptile ... upon the street or in any public place."
However, the Department of Natural Resources has said the only exception to the rule is accredited zoos, and Reptile Ocean has been described as an urban zoo and pet store.
The city of Campbellton also authorizes "the displaying of exotic animals to the public for educational purposes ... similar to an institutional use."
Campbellton Mayor Bruce MacIntosh said he has asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate whether the city or the province in responsible for enforcing the bylaw.
"That's something that we will find out," MacIntosh said. "No one here has the answers for that, and we're asking them as part of their investigation to come back and tell exactly who's responsible for it."