Stylish pets in your choice of single or double breasted coat: coming soon to an Ikea near you.

All the commotion this week has really got me thinking about pets.

In case you've been under a rock for the last few days, here's what happened: they found a monkey named Darwin wandering around the parking lot of the North York IKEA in a snazzy shearling winter coat, presumably looking for a primate-appropriate shopping cart so he could continue his browsing in peace.

The IKEA staff called Toronto Animal Services, who have brought it to a Sanctuary in hopes that it will learn how to be more monkey-like and less like a greedy Christmas shopper. The monkey's owner was fined over $200 because it is illegal under Toronto law to keep a primate as a pet.

Wait. You mean there's a law against this? Like people have thought of this before?

I used to think (like 4 days ago) that laws about not having monkeys as pets were as futile as that law in Atlanta, Georgia, against tying a giraffe to a telephone pole or a street lamp. I mean, where are people getting these animals? The giraffes I mean, because we already know about Darwin.

They got him in Montreal! Which explains a lot, like why the other shoppers couldn't understand Darwin when they found him, confused and muttering … he's French!

Thus began my research on local pet laws and tolerance levels.  As it turns out, the City of Montreal has laws against keeping "undomesticated" animals, which would include a Rhesus Macaque. You're also not allowed to keep cattle. Or bees.  On the other hand, we Montrealers can keep fish (phew!) which seems odd and full of loopholes, because some fish are pretty enormous, and dangerous. Like sharks. What if your shark got loose at IKEA?

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Before Toronto and little Darwin stole all our thunder, Montreal was enjoying some pet controversy of its own, with a new law being proposed that would limit the total amount of pets in a house to four, including a maximum of two dogs. The pet initiative would also include the opening of a $23-million animal-control/pet-welfare centre in 2014. (Gazette, Oct. 19, “City wants to impose two-dog maximum for pet owners”). So don't despair, if you have to get rid of your third dog, you wouldn't have to just go abandon it in a parking lot. They're building a centre where it can live on welfare!

Bylaws or not, some landlords just don't allow pets. Surprisingly, if you want to keep your pet, the way to go is condo living.  You probably won’t get away with a Rhesus Macaque, but, despite being generally more upscale than most apartments, turns out most condo developments in the city will permit cats or dogs. I know. I asked. (Only one developer specified that you couldn't have two big dogs, but maybe two little dogs, and as long as they're clean.)

I hate to say it, but Toronto has us beat on this one. They have developments that have a dog-washing station as part of the amenities plan, as well as dog walking, and a dog and owner mani/pedi combo. You know, for rainy days.


Maybe there's somewhere in the world where your condo development provides activities and amenities tailored to you and your Rhesus Macaque, but it’s not in Montreal.