Humane Society calls for tougher exotic animal laws following deadly python incident

Indiana

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WANE) The Humane Society of the United States is calling on the Indiana General Assembly to pass stronger laws to prevent the ownership of animals that can potentially kill people.

The call for action comes following the death of a woman in northwest Indiana who was found with an 8-foot python wrapped around her neck.

Home in Oxford, Indiana where a woman was found dead with a python wrapped around her neck.

On Wednesday, medics tried to revive the 36-year old woman who was in a home where authorities found 140 snakes.

Friday morning the Humane Society of the United States released the following statement:

“Any constricting snake 8-feet or more in length is capable of killing an adult human. These powerful predators are far too dangerous to be kept as pets or in households in residential neighborhoods. The Humane Society of the United States urges the Indiana legislature to pass stronger laws to prevent people from harboring a deadly animal that endangers communities and first responders.”

Samantha Morton, Indiana State Director of the Humane Society of the United States

According to the Humane Society, at least 18 people have died from large constrictor snake related incidents in the United States since 1978. Thirteen of those since 1990.

Currently according to the Humane Society, only venomous snakes need to be registered with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Constrictors, like pythons, do not.

The Humane Society is currently working to get a bill sponsored in the Indiana General Assembly that would ban the ownership of exotic pets such as big cats, bears, dangerous snakes, including constrictors, and other animals. A grandfather clause would allow current owners to keep their animals, but they would not be able to obtain additional ones.

Zoos and animal sanctuaries such as Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion would be exempt.

Previous Indiana incidents involving large constrictor snakes:

  • October 20, 2013/Mitchell, Indiana: A giant python abandoned by a tenant at Lakeside Estate Mobile Home park made its away to another mobile home’s duct work and was discovered when the home owner was making repairs. According to the park manager, “It’s huge. The couple have a child and they were worried about the snake getting into the house.” An animal trapper advised them to poke at the snake with a stick until it came out.
  • September 4, 2013/Noblesville, Indiana: Neighbors notified police that a resident’s 8-foot red-tailed boa constrictor was loose after they received flyers warning them of the missing snake. The snake disappeared two days earlier from a home located near an elementary school while eating a rabbit outdoors. Police, animal control, and the county sheriff’s office were trying to locate the snake.
  • April 9, 2013/Muncie, Indiana: Two landlords found a 4½-foot red-tailed boa constrictor curled up in the bathroom’s heating vent near the toilet. The snake had been left behind by the previous tenant. A wildlife rehabber was called in to remove the snake.
  • May 7, 2012/Fort Wayne, Indiana: A couple was arrested and faced charges of physically and emotionally abusing four children ranging in age from one to eight years old. Among the alleged abuses were threatening to put the children into the cage with their pet boa constrictor and putting their heads inside the cage. Three of the four children were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • August 29, 2010/Lafayette, Indiana: An 11-foot Burmese python was spotted by fishermen along a creek bank and in the vicinity of two families with young children playing. Authorities responded and shot and killed the snake.
  • September 4, 2006/Lanesville, Indiana: A 23-year-old man with experience handling reptiles was killed by his 14-foot reticulated python. A medical examiner determined that the death was consistent with asphyxiation caused by compression of the neck and chest.
  • July 7, 2004/Terre Haute, Indiana: A 15-year-old girl was treated for a wound after she was bitten by her neighbor’s pet python. The neighbor, who had purchased the snake at a pet shop, admitted that he had also previously been bitten by the snake.
  • May 2002/Indianapolis, Indiana: A 10-year-old boy was attacked by a 10-foot Burmese python brought to a pet store by a customer. The snake bit him on the chest and shoulder, inflicting about 40 puncture wounds, and coiled around his shoulders. The boy’s mother filed a lawsuit against the pet shop for the physical pain and mental anguish her son suffered as a result of the incident.
  • November 4, 1994/Indianapolis, Indiana: A 13-foot, 30-pound python bit a 4-year-old boy on the leg and coiled around his chest and legs, cutting off circulation, while the boy was playing in his basement. Five men were unable to pull the snake off the boy, so rescuers chopped off the snake’s head with an axe. The boy was treated at a hospital.

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