Family law: Salmonella from exotic pets could affect children

Studies have shown that it's important for children to have pets. British Columbia family law stipulates that the best interests of children always be at the forefront of any decisions made concerning them, but when unconventional pets can cause children to become sick, is that really keeping in line with that rule? The country's public health agency is asking the owners of exotic pets to practice good hygiene habits since six provinces have seen an outbreak of salmonella due to pet snakes, pet rodents and rodents used for food for other exotic pets.

British Columbia is among those provinces that have seen increased cases of the bacterial infection. Rodents and snakes can be carriers of salmonella even if they look healthy. If children are allowed to handle or interact with these animals, they could also become infected, so the health agency is urging everyone to be meticulous about hand-washing after handling these pets. The same goes for handling frozen rodents used as snake food.

The health agency also advises people not to bathe these animals in sinks or bathtubs, kiss them or keep their food in the same area as they store their own food. It also says to keep these creatures away from children under the age of five, anyone with a compromised immune system and pregnant women. A doctor with public health says it is not advisable to keep exotic animals, like reptiles, rodents, frogs or toads, in a household with children under the age of five because they do not yet understand the necessity of hygiene and could become ill.

There are laws in place to keep children safe. Any British Columbia resident who has any concerns about what those laws are might wish to confer with a family law lawyer. When children may be in jeopardy in any way, a lawyer's advice might be important to have.

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