A resident of Grunthal has asked for permission to keep a restricted animal in his home. That restricted animal happens to be a boa constrictor snake.

Markus Spiertz appeared before Hanover Council on Wednesday afternoon with the request. But, Hanover Administration says it was last December already when Spiertz contacted their Bylaw Enforcement Officer and was provided information on animals and reptiles that are restricted in the municipality. 

Hanover's Planning Officer told the public on Wednesday that in Manitoba it is not illegal to have a boa constrictor as a pet. However, they are restricted in Hanover. According to Hanover's Animal Care Bylaw, Council is required to hold a public hearing before making a decision, similar to a variation or conditional use. 

Not one person showed up on Wednesday in opposition. However, the municipality has received 10 letters from the community, with eight of those being in opposition and the other two expressing concern.

One of those opposing letters came from the Local Urban District committee of Grunthal, which stated a concern with having this restricted animal allowed in a family neighbourhood. Spiertz would be keeping the snake in his home along Greentree Drive in Grunthal. The LUD committee noted that allowing a boa constrictor would set a precedent and could result in a request for other exotic animals to be allowed in Hanover.

Marlo Dyck, who lives nearby, referred to this as a dangerous reptile that should not be allowed inside a home in a family neighbourhood.

"I have a serious fear of snakes and it would be quite distressing to have one so close by my home," wrote Jen Wiebe, who lives nearby.

In her letter, Judy Robbins noted the high volume of children residing on Greentree Drive as well as the fact that there is an elementary school and a park located close by. Her fear is that the snake will get loose and harm a young child. 

Spiertz assured Council that he does not yet have the snake. If allowed, his plan is to keep the snake in an enclosure that is locked. He told Council that boa constrictor snakes are not poisonous but that they kill their prey by constricting it to death. He says boa constrictor imperator snakes grow on average from 4.2' to 8.2', noting his might be 5.5' long. 

Spiertz told Council that if approved, his snake would definitely stay indoors, noting on a cold day like today, the snake would die outside.

Following the public hearing, Council agreed to send the matter to its Planning Committee to explore this request a little closer. The matter will then come back to Council for a decision, possibly in December yet.

Councillor Curtis Dawydiuk and Reeve Jim Funk both applauded Spiertz for going through the proper channels and not obtaining the snake without permission.

"This gentleman did do the right steps and he came and applied, asked and brought it to Council's attention and we are able to make that decision as time allows," notes Funk. "If it is a yes then he can go and purchase and if it is a no then at least he hasn't purchased something already. We appreciate the legal route."

Funk says the request for a boa constrictor snake is both new to Grunthal and new to Hanover Council.