Oxford, FL — Born Free USA, a leading national wildlife advocacy organization, is calling on Florida legislators to immediately ban the ownership of dangerous reptiles after a 2-year-old girl was killed by a python kept as a pet in Sumter County. According to media reports, the illegally-kept 12-foot Burmese python broke out of its cage and strangled the girl in her bedroom.
“The private ownership of dangerous reptiles such as pythons obviously presents a real danger,” said Nicole Paquette, Born Free USA senior vice president and general counsel. “This tragic incident should never have occurred in the first place. It is time for Florida legislators to ban the keeping of dangerous reptiles once and for all.”
Born Free USA is a supporter of Florida Senator Bill Nelson’s federal bill to ban the importation and interstate trade of pythons. Florida requires python owners to possess a permit and approximately 450 individuals are currently licensed to keep the animals.
Other recent incidents involving pythons include a Las Vegas 3-year-old bitten and squeezed unconscious by a 13-foot pet python; the death of a 25-year-old Virginia woman, strangled by a pet python; a 15-month-old boy bitten by a python that had been released in a North Carolina park; and an Indiana man crushed to death by his pet python. For a complete list of reported incidents involving dangerous reptiles, click here.
“We’re hoping that this incident spurs the legislature to hold an immediate public hearing to discuss the serious public safety concerns surrounding the keeping of dangerous reptiles in private hands,” said Paquette. “There is absolutely no reason for the general public to be keeping such animals as pets. In terms of public safety it’s an accident waiting to happen.”
“The question is — how many accidents have to happen before legislators act to protect the public rather than the interests of a small group of individuals? There must be some accountability,” added Paquette.
Born Free USA is a leading national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to conserve and protect wildlife in the U.S. and globally, including operation of the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, which provides sanctuary to primates formerly kept as pets in private homes. Born Free USA is a leader in exotic animal legislation in the United States.
Nicole Paquette, Born Free USA, 916-622-7170, email@example.com