Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lebanon, PA: City Council passes limits on exotic pets

City snake owners, it's time to get out your tape measures.

By JOHN LATIMER Staff Writer
Lebanon Daily News Updated: 05/26/2009 11:27:44 PM EDT

Under a law passed unanimously by Lebanon City Council last night, it is
now illegal to own a snake that is larger than 4 1/2 feet long.

That means owning just about any adult snake is illegal, according to Jason
Meily, owner of Pets-N-Stuff at 2641 Cumberland St.

"Almost all snakes grow to at least 4 or 5 feet," said Meily. "Even a corn
snake, which we sell a lot of. It's skinny, but it will grow to at least
that size."

Meily, who has owned the North Lebanon Township pet store for the past
year, said there are lots of snake owners in the area. He sells several snakes
a week, he said, as well as 50 mice daily and another 50 rats a week, which
are used to feed the slithery pets.

"The snake part — that's going to hurt us if people take this law to
heart, " he said

The city's new law also sets limits for four-legged reptiles at 10 pounds
and exotic birds at 5 pounds.

The size standards were put in place to clarify the city's existing "
barnyard animal and exotic animal" ordinance after a city man suggested that
residents be allowed to raise chickens in their backyards.

That idea was quickly dismissed by council on the recommendation of Fire
Commissioner Barry Fisher, who is also the assistant director of public
safety. Fisher noted that the city's public-safety inspectors have their
hands full dealing with enough problems, including issues with less-exotic pets
like cats and dogs, and don't need the added burden of inspecting chicken
pens.

The previous ordinance did not allow fowl to be raised in the city, but it
did not specifically prohibit chickens.

To close the loophole, council amended the ordinance to include chickens
and toughened it by adding the section on exotic animals. Owners must also
keep their exotic pets in cages at all times.

Councilman Wiley Parker said the city will not actively be searching for
violators, but if it receives a complaint, it will investigate. Fines range
from $50 to $300.

"It's 'Don't ask, don't tell,'" he said. "We are not going to go
looking for them. But if somebody reports to us that there is an 8-foot snake
somewhere, we are going to have to deal with it."

JohnLatimer@..._

http://www.ldnews.com/ci_12455574?source=most_viewed
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