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April 28, 2012

Statement by The Humane Society of the United States on Loose Python

Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States, issues the following statement in response to news reports of a loose python in a Houston, Texas neighborhood:

“Residents of a Houston apartment complex are concerned, as they should be, about reports that there is a 12-foot python on the loose near their building. Constrictor snakes larger than 8-feet are capable of killing a person and, in fact, nine people in the U.S.—babies, a teenager and adult men—have already been squeezed to death by constrictor snakes 12-feet or smaller. For example, in 1980, a 7-month-old Dallas girl was killed by her father’s 8-foot pet reticulated python as she slept in her crib.
 
This incident, and hundreds like it, illustrates the urgent need for Congress to pass H.R. 511, which would stop the importation and interstate commerce of deadly giant constrictor snakes for the pet trade and has already passed the House Judiciary Committee. The trade in these nonnative snakes threatens public safety, animal welfare and the environment.
 
Unsuspecting people across the country are encountering, and even being attacked by someone else’s escaped or released constrictor snake while tending to their gardens, making lemonade in their kitchens, pulling laundry from their washing machines, or sleeping in their beds. People have watched in horror as these dangerous predators have attacked children and pets who were playing in their yards. Youngsters have been compressed to the point of unconsciousness, nearly blinded when bitten in the face, and suffered numerous other painful, traumatic, and disfiguring injuries.
 
The snakes are victims, too; some have been sprayed with fire extinguishers, shocked with stun guns, or crudely decapitated with meat cleavers, hacksaws, or axes in a desperate effort to stop attacks. Large constrictor snakes should be left undisturbed in their natural habitats, not kept in cramped tanks or turned loose by irresponsible reptile enthusiasts to fend for themselves in residential Texas neighborhoods.”

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Media Contact:
Heather Sullivan, 240-477-2251; hsullivan@humanesociety.org

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