ANIMAL ATTACK FILES
Special Report from AAF Correspondant: J. Dykes
From Detroit Free Press
|Detroit Zoo takes venomous
snakes from home
BY NIRAJ WARIKOO FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, August 12 1999
Three venomous snakes were removed from a Romulus home Wednesday after one of them bit a 19-year-old woman.
Detroit Zoo staff fished out two vipers and one cobra from their glass cages in a Romulus apartment, plopped them into a large container and took them to the zoo in Royal Oak.
"This is very unusual," said Andy Snider, curator of herpetology at the Detroit Zoo, who helped remove the snakes. "We've had nothing like it in six years."
The owner of the snakes, whose name has not been released, might be charged with a misdemeanor for owning the snakes. Under a city ordinance, it's illegal to own venomous or exotic snakes.
The woman, who was a friend of the owner, was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where she was in stable condition Wednesday night.
The incident started Wednesday morning when the woman put her hand in one of the snake cages, said Romulus Police Detective Dwayne DeCaires.
The snake bit her, and she called police. Officers arrived and searched the home for the snakes. Police called Detroit Zoo officials for help in removing the reptiles.
At noon, Snider and a zookeeper got the snakes out as TV cameras and photographers swarmed around them.
DeCaires said he couldn't recall a case of venomous snakes but remembered a boa constrictor about two weeks ago.
"A guy found a large constrictor who was living underneath his wooden deck. It was 5 to 6 inches in diameter, about 10 feet long," DeCaires said. "I think it wanted to get out from there and enjoy the sun."
The three snakes caught Wednesday were about 2 to 3 feet long. One was in a bedroom, the other two in the basement.
The snakes will either become part of the Detroit Zoo collection or will be sent to other zoos, Snider said.
Snider said it has become too easy for people to buy and own snakes. They can be bought through catalogs and through the Internet, he said.