There was nothing that this little girl wanted more than an African Pygmy Hedgehog.
As part of the city's animal control bylaw, no residents in Markham, Ontario are allowed to own hedgehogs, even though they are legal to own in the neighboring city of Toronto. There is one way, however, that residents can legally own one of these prickly creatures: being granted an exception by the city council.
After approaching her councilman with her issue, Colin Campell introduced the matter at a general committee meeting in February.
Shortly after, Markham's animal care committee expressed its support in a report which would exempt the young girl from the animal control bylaw. The motion was passed by a vote of nine to three. However, a $200 exemption free was still on the table.
The option to waive the monetary fee lost in a tie of six to six.
When asked about the issue, those who voted against the exemption raised concerns about high relinquishment rates for hedgehogs in shelters, risks of carrying diseases such as salmonella, and the potential for an increase in animal trade of exotic animals. Supporters of the motion stressed that pet ownership, any pet, is an important lesson of responsibility for young children.
After the motion was passed, Councilman Campbell offered his continued support for the young constituent, saying that she was just "trying to do the right thing."
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