Crews seize, euthanize animals from shop below apartment where python killed boys

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. – Zoo staff seized 23 reptiles and euthanized four alligators that were in an exotic pet store beneath the apartment where two boys were killed by a python in New Brunswick.

The four American alligators inside Reptile Ocean were euthanized because officials couldn’t find accredited zoos that would take them, Bruce Dougan, the manager of the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton, N.B., said Friday.

“It’s never easy to euthanize an animal but in this situation it’s the best possible outcome for these animals,” Dougan said outside the Campbellton pet shop. “We do not want to put them in a situation where they cannot be accommodated.”

The other animals, which included a Cuban crocodile, dwarf crocodiles, snakes and a couple of lizards, were taken to zoos outside the province because they are banned in New Brunswick without a permit, said Bry Loyst, founder and curator of the Indian River Reptile Zoo in Ontario.

The animals were seized days after four-year-old Noah Barthe and his six-year-old brother Connor were killed by a 45-kilogram African rock python in an apartment upstairs from Reptile Ocean. Preliminary results of autopsies show that the boys were asphyxiated by the snake.

The Natural Resources Department obtained a warrant earlier this week to search the store and said if any illegal animals were found, they would be seized and relocated to accredited zoos.

The building has been cordoned off with police tape since the boys were found dead Monday morning. Police say the snake escaped a glass tank inside the apartment, slithered through a ventilation system and fell through a ceiling into the living room where the boys slept.

The apartment and store are owned by Jean-Claude Savoie, a family friend of the boys who took them shopping and to a farm before hosting a sleepover Sunday along with his son. Savoie has not returned messages for comment.