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IA: Snakes don't fly in council chambers

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Posted by: EricWI at Fri Feb 3 13:28:17 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by EricWI ]  
   

Snakes don't fly in council chambers: Man told to send his pythons packing

MUSCATINE, Iowa — A Muscatine man has been given 30 days to find new homes for two ball pythons he’s been keeping in his Park Avenue apartment.

Police Chief Brett Talkington said keeping the snakes within city limits violates a city ordinance that prohibits dangerous animals, including snakes that are venomous or constrictors.

Anthony Wolfmueller told the Muscatine City Council he was unaware of the ordinance. He said his 6-year-old child regularly handles the snakes, which are 3 1/2 and 5 feet long. The pythons eat mice and small rats and “have never struck anyone,” he said.

The city’s animal control officer, Steve McGovern, served the removal notice to Wolfmueller after the city’s code enforcement officer, Ken Rogers, found the snakes during a property inspection.

Unlike Burmese pythons, which Wolfmueller said can attain

20-foot lengths, the two ball pythons “will never be a harm to anyone,” he said.

The City Council voted 5-2, with Bob Bynum and Jeanette Phillips opposed, to grant Wolfmueller the 30-day extension.

Phillips said she fielded a call from a constituent who wondered what would be done with the pythons. The caller, Phillips said, wanted them destroyed.

“It seems from what you have told us that you’re a good caretaker,”Councilman Osama Shihadeh said. “But we have an ordinance in place, and the next person may not be such a good caretaker.”

“We have to be careful about making exceptions,” Councilman Scott Natvig added.

Councilman Mark LeRette said the City Council may want to make a few changes in the ordinance, which he called vague.

“There are a lot of [snake] breeds, some of them a foot long and not a danger to anyone,” LeRette said. “We may want to change the ordinance to make a length limit.”

After the decision was announced, Wolfmueller said he appreciated LeRette’s gesture.

“Unfortunately, all I can do is find new homes for them,” he said.

“If they want to change their ordinance, it would give us a chance to keep them and that would be wonderful.”
http://muscatinejournal.com/news/local/government-and-politics/snakes-don-t-fly-in-council-chambers-man-told-to/article_3d0924d2-4e1e-11e1-b065-001871e3ce6c.html


   

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