A man who was fined US$190 for allowing his pet snake to slither freely in a South Dakota park says he’s disturbed by an animal control officer’s suggestion that he restrain the reptile on a leash while in public.
The Argus Leader reported that Jerry Kimball was ticketed for “animals running at large” last week after a woman complained that two of his ball pythons were roaming freely for a bathroom break at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, S.D.
In an interview with NBC affiliate KDLT, Kimball said he believes snakes are misunderstood, and that’s why he takes his pets to the local park to draw crowds and educate them.
But when an animal control officer approached him, Kimball said he was “dumbfounded” when he realized the officer was not pulling an April Fools’ Day prank on him.
“He was like, ‘Technically you have to have your snakes on a leash,’ and I was like, ‘Sir they don’t make such an item,’” he said.
Animal control supervisor Julie DeJong says a city ordinance requires all pets to be leashed or restrained in public, and that pet snakes can be held or kept in a container to comply.