The Case: News reports give the following account: On May 8, 2012 a police officer captured a 5 1/2-foot Burmese python in a pizzeria parking lot on Route 9G in Hyde Park. The snake was brought to the Dutchess County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty before being transported to the Bronx Zoo. The neglected snake, which the DCSPCA named ‘SAL,’ was described as hungry, covered in mites, suffering the adverse effects of the cold temperatures and may have a skin condition or abrasions. Pythons exposed to cold temperatures can die or develop illnesses such as respiratory infections or mouth rot. Mites can cause anemia and spread diseases. The snake’s former owner could be prosecuted for animal cruelty and for illegally possessing a python.
“This abandoned snake could have suffered a miserable death from the cold weather, been run over by a car, or seriously injured a child,” said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. “This poor snake suffered horribly as a result of being turned loose or escaping from a poorly secured cage, and we are hopeful that our reward brings forward anyone with information. This incident, and hundreds like it, illustrates the urgent need for Congress to pass H.R. 511, which would stop the import and interstate commerce of deadly giant constrictor snakes for the pet trade.”
“The staff of the Dutchess County SPCA is happy that ‘SAL’, the Burmese Python, was spared additional suffering, and now has a good home,” stated Joyce Garrity, the DCSPCA’s executive director. “We are all very grateful to The Humane Society of the United States for their generous offer of a reward to help us locate the person responsible for releasing the python. We are confident that someone will come forward with information as a result of the involvement of HSUS.”
Authorities are finding released or escaped pet pythons, boa constrictors, and anacondas all over the country, including several other cases in New York. Reptile dealers commonly peddle these high-maintenance and dangerous predators to unqualified people at flea markets and over the Internet. In 1996, a Bronx teenager was strangled to death by his 13-foot, 44-pound pet Burmese python. The HSUS recommends that people stick with traditional companion animals, such as cats and dogs, and avoid contributing to the cruel trade in exotic animals.
The Investigators: Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the DCSPCA Humane Law Department at 845-452-7722 extension 4.