reptiles in ditch

Toronto Zoo helping OPP investigate after alligator and snakes found dead in a ditch

The Toronto Zoo is assisting after several large, exotic reptiles were found in a ditch.

The Caledon Detachment of the OPP says officers received a call from a passerby about possible animal cruelty on Boxing Day. They found an alligator and approximately five large exotic snakes in a ditch in the area of Escarpment Side Road and Horseshow Hill Road in the Town of Caledon.

"Unfortunately, this is not a unique situation in Ontario. Many individuals are operating non-accredited roadside zoos or have exotic animals in private ownership," said Dolf DeJong, CEO of the Toronto Zoo, in a press release.

DeJong said the Toronto Zoo is providing expert assistance to the Caledon OPP in their ongoing investigation.

The Zoo "strongly condemns the actions taken and complete disregard for the lives of these reptiles."

"We continue to work with the provincial and federal governments to ensure strong regulations are put in place to prevent the private ownership of exotic and endangered animals or the housing of these animals in roadside zoos," he added.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Caledon OPP.

Animal welfare is regulated in Ontario under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act. Those found guilty of animal cruelty can face fines of up to $130,000 on a first offence, or up to $500,000 against a corporation on a first offence.

Lead photo by

Keith Watson Photography

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