Letter: Labeling all exotic animals as dangerous is extreme

Published: Sunday, May 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Thomas Cobb's unique collection of 29 snakes, which is kept in a special room in his Cottonwood Heights basement, is in jeopardy. He has been cited for failing to have an exotic pet permit and given one week to get rid of all but one snake. He has spent more than two decades amassing his private collection and prides himself in being a good snake owner. Each snake costs about $12,000.

Jen Pilgreen, Deseret News

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Recently, an issue regarding snakes in a private residence became newsworthy because of a prejudicial ordinance restricting exotic pets ("Exotic snake collector keeps his pets — for now," May 3). Laws such as this are probably based on precedence wherein someone wanted to keep a pet tiger or some other potentially dangerous animal in a residential area.

But dumping all exotic animals into a single category and labeling them all as dangerous is ridiculous to the extreme. After all, your neighbor might have 200 exotic frogs as pets, but even if they escape, they're not going to harm anyone.

Some cities have banned all constricting snakes. This is ludicrous. People hear the term "boa constrictor" and they imagine giant snakes from a bad horror movie eating their children. That fact is, with the exception of venomous snakes and a very few others, most snakes are constrictors, including hundreds of species that aren't big enough to be a danger to humans. Nearly two dozen snake species in Utah are constrictors, but when was the last time you heard of someone being squeezed to death by a Utah snake? It's impossible!

Before jumping to conclusions, people (and cities) should educate themselves about things they don't understand.

David E. Jensen

Holladay

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