Four years ago, Canada decided to loosen its restrictions on what exotic animals pet stores are allowed to sell. At the time, the new measure didn’t attract a whole lot of attention, but sadly, the law has now had some unintended and tragic consequences. Early Monday morning, an African Rock Python escaped from its enclosure at the Reptile Ocean pet show in Campbellton, New Brunswick. It shimmied its way up a ventilation duct, found its way into the upstairs apartment and strangled two boys.
According to The Toronto Star, the two children have been identified as seven-year-old Connor and five-year-old Noah Barthe. They were sleeping over, as they often did, at the apartment of the pet shop owner, who was reportedly very good friends with their mother. He came in to check on them at about 6 AM and saw a large hole in the ceiling from where the ventilation duct assumedly collapsed, dropping the snake inside with the little boys. The authorities were called immediately, but by the time they arrived, there was nothing they could do for the poor kids. The owner later handed the snake over to authorities. The results of the autopsies aren’t back yet, but the preliminary findings by the police indicate the boys were strangled by the reptile in question and expired shortly thereafter.
Human beings and snakes have always had a bit of an uneasy relationship. More than a few people die from snake attacks every year, but still, none of that can possibly prepare you for two brothers, both under the age of eight, being taken without warning in the middle of the night. Their loss is immeasurably sad for their parents, for the pet shop owner and for everyone who knew them well.
Here’s what close family friend Melissa Ellis had to say…
“There are no words to say that could sum up the joy and love they brought us all. They were loved by every hand that touched them and the heavens said it all today as even the angels were crying.”
No one is quite sure exactly how the snake got out of its cage. By all accounts, everything was locked properly in place, but obviously, it didn’t hold. Moving forward, one would imagine Canada and possibly even the United States would look into imposing tighter safety regulations as far as how dangerous animals must be enclosed in pet stores. At least then something sensible would come out of these tragic loses.
Regardless, Pop Blend’s sincerest thoughts go out to the entire Barthe family, as well as everyone touched by their lives. These little kids had so much to give, but they will be fondly remembered and loved for a long time.