Texas animal control seizes hundreds of snakes, rodents
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Animal control officials have removed more than 100 snakes and more than 400 rodents from a San Antonio home following concerns about the animals’ living conditions.
Animal Care Services seized 136 reticulated pythons and ball pythons Wednesday after weeks of attempting to work with the reptiles’ owner to improve the living conditions, The San Antonio Express-News reported.
The San Antonio animal owner was breeding and selling the nonvenomous constrictors, investigators said. The man wouldn’t disclose how many snakes he had or address their living conditions, which prompted authorities to get a search warrant, said Joel Skidmore, a field operations supervisor. Two of the snakes were 10-foot (3-meter) pythons.
Animal Care Services officers found the snakes in cages and plastic tubs, some of which were stacked in a shed. Officials also removed 415 mice and rats that were being used as the snakes’ food source.
The city’s animal ordinance bans venomous snakes but doesn’t have specific limits for nonvenomous snakes. The ordinance does require that reptiles are provided with care and treatment, such as access to fresh air and water, and appropriate food and shelter.
The city’s Dangerous Assessment Response Team, a herpetologist from the San Antonio Zoo, city code enforcement officers and SeaWorld experts assisted in the reptiles’ removal.
The owner must appear in court within 10 days to determine who will get custody of the snakes, Skidmore said. If Animal Care Services is granted custody, the agency will work with local rescue shelters and zoos to find appropriate placement for the reptiles, spokeswoman Lisa Norwood said.