INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 17, 2012, 10:28 AM

West Fargo won't change tune on exotic animals

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Would you be OK with your neighbor having an 8 foot python? A local man is challenging a West Fargo ordinance which bans certain snakes. It was a hot topic at Monday’s city commission meeting.

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Would you be OK with your neighbor having an 8 foot python? A local man is challenging a West Fargo ordinance which bans certain snakes. It was a hot topic at Monday’s city commission meeting.

People seem to love them or hate them -- snakes. Robert Butts III is on the “love” side. He has 2 and wants to be able to take them anywhere in the metro. He lives in Fargo but rules are different when he crosses into West Fargo.

The 8 foot Burmese Python named Monte, living in Fargo seems to enjoy the warm weather today.

Robert Butts III – Trying to Change Ban on Pythons: “When we get to the parks kids will come up running and parents are like, ‘oh my god my kid is running toward an 8 foot snake,’ and the kids will pet it and before it's all said and done parents are grinning ear to ear."

Robert was booted from a public park in West Fargo, because he had Monte with him. That's why he's in front of the city commission tonight.

Robert Butts III: “I don't see how they're any different than any other animal treat them right they'll be a good decent animal."

Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo all have laws against exotic pets. Alligators, tarantulas, and poisonous snakes all fall under that category, but West Fargo takes it a step further with snakes and doesn't allow constrictor snakes.

Commissioner: "As of now they're against the law."

Animal and reptile experts say most of the time people buy these pets when they're young. They grow too big, and the owner just lets them free because they're ill equipped to handle it. It was this winter when officers found 30 dead pythons in a garage in Dilworth. That owner had plans to breed the reptiles.

Two years ago a 2 foot alligator was found roaming the streets of Fargo. It was rescued and now lives in a zoo. Down south it's a catastrophic problem. Snakes like Robert's are crippling the eco-system in the everglades because so many have been set free, and they're now reproducing in the wild.

Robert argues, his snakes may catch more attention than a poodle, but are no more harmful than any common pet you see in town.

Robert Butts III: "If you don't properly handle a snake you could have the same reaction if you don't handle a Rottweiler."

The City Commission disagreed tonight. The law did not change. In fact PetsMart, which is in West Fargo. was told today it can no longer sell constrictor snakes.

Tags: