Snakes aren’t typically known as the most sought after pets, but some people appreciate their presence which is why there are reptile stores across the country. What may be gross and scary to some is considered anything but to others. Yep, believe it or not, some find snake cuddles to be a wonderful thing and it fills their desire to have a pet.
When one snake owner was strolling through a South Dakota park, he received a fine for allowing his scaly friend to slither around freely. The animal control officer who was responsible for charging him with $190, suggested that he restrain the snake with a leash. At first, snake owner, Jerry Kimball thought the fine was a joke because after all it was an odd request and it happened to be April Fool’s Day. But, much to his dismay, the fine was legit and fell under the category of “animals running at large.”
“He was literally asking me to put a rope around my snake,” said Kimball, as he recalled the incident. “I was like ‘dude, no.’ I was dumbfounded.”
The officer was alerted by another park visitor, who called in a complaint that the Fire Bee Ball Python was roaming freely in Sioux Falls at Falls Park.
According to city ordinance, all pets have to be leashed or restrained while in public places. For a snake, they recommend that it be held or carried in a container.
The rule doesn’t really distinguish between different types of pets but Animal Control Officer, Julie DeJong says that if it’s in public and it’s not on a leash then it is considered “at large.” She also suggested that snake lovers should be more sensitive when it comes to other people and the fear that they may have. While the python is not poisonous, it can still be scary to witness one running on the lose.
Kimball, on the other hand, has a different agenda. His hope is to rid society of the fear that it has of snakes.
“That’s my purpose in life, to let people know that snakes are not killers,” said Kimball, who plans to fight the fine in court. “What better way to give back than to help people understand these misunderstood creatures?”
Commenters’ opinions varied and took different sides…
“I just wouldn’t call an animal that would eat you if it was hungry and given the chance a pet.”
“It’s obvious that Sioux Falls is in dire need of a new Animal Control Supervisor. Preferably one that is willing to use some common sense when dealing with the public. Instead of writing a ticket, a warning could have been given, or is it really about the money?”
And others pointed out the fact that snake owners have a reputation of letting their pets go in the wild, leading to annual hunts to keep the community safe…
“Ok check FLA they have a special hunt each year to eradicate Burmese Pythons, because SOME SNAKE OWNERS RELEASED THEIRS IN THE WILD. Helooooo….dingdong anybody home upstairs?”