Pittsburgh Councilwoman Harris proposes ordinance for exotic pets | TribLIVE.com

Pittsburgh Councilwoman Harris proposes ordinance for exotic pets

Bob Bauder
City Councilwoman Darlene Harris reflects on her years of public service on May 22, 2019, the day after she lost in the Democratic primary to challenger Bobby Wilson. City Councilwoman Darlene Harris in her office at the City-County Building, Downtown.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris said Tuesday she’s crafting legislation that would regulate, but not ban, exotic animals and reptiles — including alligators — in the city.

Harris of Spring Hill said the three alligators found running loose in Pittsburgh since May 18 highlights the need for such regulation. She said her bill would require a permit or some type of notification to the city from owners of exotic pets.

“Say there’s an emergency and you have venomous snakes, one of our firefighters or paramedics or police officers could be killed,” she said. “We need to know that those animals or reptiles are there. They should have a sticker on a door or windows where these animals are kept.”

Harris was joined by other animal experts in calling for stricter regulations since alligators started popping up around the city. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said his office would work with Harris on her legislation.

“Should there be limitations on the type of pets within the city? Yeah,” Peduto said. “We also have ordinances which limit farm animals and what type of farm animals you can have in the city, and we have had ordinances regarding dogs that go back to the early 1800s.”

Peduto said he wants to see Harris’ bill before commenting on it, and he has yet to form an opinion on whether city residents should be permitted to own alligators.

“I’ll wait until council has had the opportunity to have a bill introduced and I’ll let the discussion start then,” he said.

Harris said she started working on an exotic animal ordinance before the first alligator was discovered because she was “seeing more and more exotic animals and reptiles in the city.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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