Neighbors concerned about pet snakes in Scott Township

Published May 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm (Updated May 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm)

David Calabria of Meadowlark Drive was at the Scott Township Commissioners’ May 27 regular meeting asking the board for help with a snake problem.

When he saw his next door neighbor sunning two 12-foot long pythons in the front yard, Calabria called the police. After the police investigated, they told Calabria there were 20 snakes in the house.

Calabria asked the board if the township had any ordinances restricting the number of snakes a person could own, or if there was an ordinance restricting exotic animals.

Calabria said he has a 7-year-old and a new baby on the way, and is worried about having so many snakes right next door, especially now that they are outside of the house.

Scott officials said that there was a dangerous/exotic animal ordinance that dealt with animals like lions or tigers. Code enforcement officer Bob Fischer said he spoke with animal control and was told that snakes fall under the responsibility of the fish commission.

According to the PA Fish and Boat Commission website, “PA Fish and Boat Commission regulations only pertain to native species of PA. In other words, our regulations do not cover any species not found in PA. Therefore, you would not need a permit from our agency. However, you may want to contact your local municipal government to see if they have any ordinances in effect that regulate the possession of “dangerous animals” or exotic pets. Due to some recent high-profile cases in the news of non-native snake bites and snakes getting loose in neighborhoods, additional municipalities are adding such laws.”

Phil Haines, another resident of Meadowlark, said snakes can get out. He told the board that a few years ago, he saw a large, dead snake, later identified as a California King snake, on North Wren.

Calabria is the son of commissioner Dave Calabria. Commissioner Calabria said his son bought his house three years ago, and now his daughter is afraid to go out in the front yard.

“I wouldn’t go in the front yard,” responded commissioner Tom Castello.

Commissioner Castello asked solicitor Robert McTiernan if a letter could be sent to the snake owner telling them the snakes were to be kept indoors.

Officials told Calabria that they would investigate and see what they could do to help.

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