After a wolf escape and possible vandalism to Spruce Haven Nature Park, the animal control bylaw came back to the table again for reconsideration after it was grandfathered into the bylaw just a couple council meetings previously.
It was actually brought back to the table by the two city councilors that started the grandfathering process, namely councillor Susan Myers and Steve Butland.
There was as much anger and frustration tonight at city council over the issue as it has constituted since the beginning of the year.
Ken Marshall, proprietor of Spruce Haven, spoke and answered questions from councilors including a heated question over if Marshall owns a ‘kill gun.’
A representative from the Sault Ratepayers Association spoke on behalf of Marshall as well concerning various possible legal discrepancies on changing the decision for the animal control bylaw.
It came down to the housing of the lions at Spruce Haven, that would not be allowed under any municipal animal control bylaw. The lions have been living there for 20 years.
The rest of the animals may fall under a provincial license if the Marshalls wanted to fight it out in court.
“I was uncomfortable at the beginning of this and I am now even more uncomfortable,” said Butland, who was worried after the wolf escape and concerned for public safety and the city’s liability.
Councilor Marchy Bruni asked for clarification if the city would be held responsible if there was an animal attack if the exemption continues. The legal department said it would be responsible.
“Security is a major concern of ours,” said Ken Marshall.
Sara McCleary spoke against Spruce Haven on the safety issue stating that if the Marshalls cared for the animals, they would do what is best for them. “The eyes of the world are on us.”
“To me this is a philosophical issue,” said councilor Paul Christian who is simply against animals in cages in general.
Councilor Marchy Bruni also pointed out that in 1997 the city gave Spruce Haven the animals that were housed in Bellevue Park when it closed.
Councilor Frank Fata said that if the zoo was closed the animals would just be going to another zoo, which the opposition says it is against.
A recorded vote was called for and it was tied 6-6 so it failed.