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City and Reptilia reach pending settlement about indoor reptile zoo operating in London

Reptilia London at Westmount Commons Mall in London, Ont. is seen in April 2023. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London) Reptilia London at Westmount Commons Mall in London, Ont. is seen in April 2023. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London)
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The legal dispute between the City of London and indoor reptile zoo Reptilia appears to be over.

Michael Lerner, the lawyer representing Reptilia confirms to CTV News that an agreement in principle has been reached and formal documents are being prepared to conclude the court proceedings.

A confidentiality agreement forbids details from being released until the paperwork is completed and the agreement executed, likely before the next scheduled court date on April 26.

On April 2, city council met behind closed-doors with the city solicitor to discuss a potential settlement that would end court proceedings against Reptilia.

Last year, city council denied a request by Reptilia for an exemption to the Animal Control Bylaw that forbids the display of exotic species.

However, Reptilia received a business license and occupancy permit from the city.

A year ago, Reptilia opened its doors inside Westmount Commons Mall with a mix of native and exotic species.

At the time Lerner argued that the zoo’s provincial licence permits it to operate in London.

City hall filed an application in Superior Court asking a judge for

  •  A declaration that the respondents are not exempted from compliance with Animal Control By-Law PH-3
  •  An order restraining the respondents from contravening Animal Control By-Law PH-3 by keeping prohibited animals
  •  Costs of this application, if opposed
  •  Such further and other relief as this honourable court may deem just

Zoocheck Canada has warned the city against withdrawing the court application because it could open a legal loophole for other zoos to enter London.

In March, Zoocheck Canada’s Rob Laidlaw said it could become a “festering wound” for the city, “I can see a number of those [zoos] saying, ‘London is a good market, we want a base in southwestern Ontario, we want to go in just like Reptilia did.’”

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