Lizard-lover sticks tongue out at bylaw change

Peter Mackie holds one of his Blue Tegu lizards in Winnipeg on July 1, 2014. Mackie is fighting the...

Peter Mackie holds one of his Blue Tegu lizards in Winnipeg on July 1, 2014. Mackie is fighting the city on its pet ownership bylaw. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)

Kristin Annable, Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg man might have to give up his beloved lizards, thanks to a city bylaw that prohibits them.

Peter Mackie, who is on disability, lives alone with his three-foot-long blue tegus.

They are his family, he said.

They know their name, come when they are called and show affection to their owner, who has spent over $5,000 building a home for them.

"They are smart and intelligent and I care for them like just a cat and dog," he said. "If I lose these guys, it is going to put me in a really tough spot."

Yet, the city wants to take them away from him, citing last year's changes to the Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw as reason.

Mackie says he purchased the tegus, a docile type of large lizard that belongs to the Teiidae family, before the bylaw was changed in July and these lizards were made illegal.

"I would not have brought them here if they were illegal," he said.

Technically, this means they should be grandfathered and outside of the bylaw.

However, in May he was given notice by animal services, after a neighbour complained, to get rid of the pets by June 16.

He faces two fines which will cost him over $2,000 in total -- a fine someone on disability simply cannot afford, Mackie said.

He is appealing the decision by animal services and his case goes to protection and community services on Friday.


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