The owners of exotic animals in Hastings Highlands invite people to take a look at what they do.

Moose FM sat down with Mark and Tammy Drysdale to chat about their animals. Drysdale says that their operation started with a bunch of st. bernards and he wanted to give them the best life he could. He says once you get a reputation as a rehab or rescue, he says anyone else who ends up with an animal they do not want would be sent their way. He says eventually through this he found his love in big cats.

On their time in Grand Bend, Ontario, Drysdale says the controversy came from people not knowing what they did. She says they bought an old zoo in the area and, and they had gotten permission from the township to be there as a legal-non-conforming entity. They say a few days after they settled in, Drysdale said the township then passed an exotic-animal bylaw. She says that this was pushed by fear-mongering from their neighbours. She says that people seemed to have forgotten they had built their houses around an old zoo. However, she says after many people came out to see what they do, they were swayed. Drysdale said most people who didn’t want them in Grand Bend would refuse to see what they do.

Drysdale backs up the claim of Hastings Highlands Township that there are currently no proposals in place to turn what they do into a business. He talked to both the mayor and municipal planner, and both say there are no bylaws that forbid what they do. He says that they’re in a very good and friendly place with the township, and will do things to the letter of the law. Drysdale says they have been very helpful to both sides, and he says if there is fearmongering, it will be pointed out as such.

Drysdale says that the animals under his care are domesticated and not wild, and says they are nowhere near as dangerous as the wildlife most residents would find in their backyard. He says if you look up a legal definition of a domesticated animal, those under his care would fall under that category. They ask the public to reach out with their questions.  Drysdale says that many people already have reached out, and they really appreciate it. They say to come out, meet them, and see what they do. They say they’re excited to be in the neighbourhood, and have said that the people here have so far been awesome.

They invite people to check out their YouTube channel, which you can find here.