Two pythons tie up Calif. officers
By Angela Woodall, Staff Writer
FREMONT- What's up with all the Burmese pythons? That's what Fremont Animal Services is asking after two of the exotic creatures were turned over to the center within days of each other -- the first one a 7-footer found Thursday in Union City.
"Big. Big for anyone to have that in their house," was the reaction of Sgt. John Dauzat of the Fremont Police Department Animal Services when he saw the mammoth reptile. "It was like a small barrel."
The snake was found at the top of Tamarack Drive in Union City. A hiker tracked it down after noticing large tracks across a trail in Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park, said Officer Dan Roberts of Union City Police Department's Animal Services.
Based on its "very good" condition, Roberts estimated that it had been abandoned about a week ago by someone who "figured out late in the game it was going to get even bigger." Adult Burmese pythons can grow as long as 20 feet and weigh as much as 200 pounds.
Dauzat said he was nervous about having the 20-pound python at the center, which usually handles dogs and cats from Union City, Newark, Fremont and San Leandro.
One python was unusual enough, but for the first time Fremont Animal Services had two at once, Dauzat said.
Just three days after Union City Animal Services brought him the first snake, the center ended up with a
2-foot specimen that was removed because its owner had been arrested, Dauzat said. For now, the junior-sized python is living in a cage until its owner can reclaim it.
The larger reptile was taken in by Pete Marshall, a member of a rescue group, the Bay Area Amphibian and Reptile Society. Marshall is seeking a home for the gentle Southeast Asian native, which he characterized as "nice."
BARS' adoption coordinator, Dianne Flagg, said she took in a dozen large exotic snakes last year. Many had escaped from inadequate cages or from distracted owners; others were abandoned by people who don't know how large such snakes can grow, she said.
Some cities, such as Union City, require a permit for owning large animals such as a python. But pet stores can sell them without conditions, Flagg said.
Staff writer Angela Woodall can be reached at (510) 353-7004.
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