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IA Press: Reptile rescue after Fire

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Posted by: W von Papineu at Tue Mar 1 05:30:03 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papineu ]  

DAILY TIMES (Cedar Valley, Iowa) 22 February 11 Snakes alive - Reptile rescuers step in after fire (Jack Swanson)
Oelwein: Three snakes that survived a house fire in Oelwein, Wednesday, Feb. 16, were still alive, Monday, thanks to the efforts of Northeast Iowa Reptile Rescue in Independence.
“The night of the fire in Oelwein we received a call from one of our fosters/adoptees. They called us to inform us that their house was on fire and the reptiles were still inside and the fire department would not let the people who rented out the home go in to get them. About 1 1/2 hours later we got a knock on the door from a good Samaritan who brought us four snakes,” said Joshua Lange, owner of NEIRR.
Firefighters reported the tenants of the house, who escaped unharmed, also had three dogs that were not injured. The house, located at 134 N. Frederick Ave., sustained heavy smoke and fire damage on the main level, as well as smoke and some fire damage on the second floor.
Lang took the surviving snakes to a veterinarian’s office in Iowa City for treatment.
Co-operater of the reptile rescue Ashley Henninger said reptile vets are hard to find in Iowa and they charge more for services because they are specialists. Iowa City was the nearest option.
“They checked them out but there wasn’t much they could do for them at that point,” Lange said.
The NEIRR is a licensed rescue with the Department of Agriculture and the state of Iowa. It is a non-profit organization and has been in business for more than a year.
“There was an Iguana in the fire to but unfortunately the Iguana did perish in the fire. As of today (Monday) we have three snakes left. All of our hard work was not enough for an adult ball python. He ended up passing away in the night due to smoke inhalation. We now currently still have one Brazilian Rainbow Boa that is in critical condition and it is touch and go with him. There are two baby ball pythons and they seem to be doing okay so far. The larger baby ball python did suffer from burns on his body,” Lang pointed out.
Lang said the occupants of the house were serving as foster owners for many other reptiles, similar to a pet rescue operation for dogs and cats. He said most of those reptiles, which he did not name specifically, also died in the fire.
“There was a lot of reptiles in the house. Our rescue program took a big hit. They lost tanks, heating pads, cages and a lot of other equipment and supplies, besides the reptiles. It’s been a very tragic thing. We’ve been trying to get the reptile side of the thing out to the public but we don’t expect too much help because of the hype about snakes and reptiles, but people need to realize that they are people’s pets too, just like cats or dogs,” Lange said.
Lange related that he has been around snakes and reptiles since he was a youngster and decided to do something about the “mistreatment and neglect” that he believes has been given to reptiles in general. He also hopes to provide a learning experience about snakes and reptiles through the shelter.
“It’s always better to have a good experience with a reptile than a bad one,” he pointed out.
The rescue provides standard rehabilitation for unhealthy or sick reptiles, including feeding, vet care and medical treatments.
Reptile rescuers step in after fire


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