Neighbors never suspected alligators, rattlesnakes, a crocodile, and other exotics lived in the mysterious and seemingly uninhabited Southeast Wisconsin house until several police squad cars surrounded the spot on May 14.
Kenosha law enforcement officers removed two alligators, five rattlesnakes, a venomous Gila Monster, a snapping turtle, and a crocodile from the Kenosha home after receiving an animal cruelty complaint. Apparently, a landscaper may have stumbled upon a 3- to 4-foot alligator’s skeleton in the backyard. Officers also found a fawn carcass and a large burned snake on the property.
Local residents seemed shocked at the exotic animal finds.
“It’s crazy, shocking and amazing how we’re neighbors, and nobody knew what [the property owner] was doing in there,” Brian Berthelsen told reporters.
Initially, Berthelsen told online friends he thought the sudden arrival of police vehicles outside the eerie residence might have been a drug bust. He said he had seen someone carrying plastic containers into the home late at night on prior occasions.
Police found the live snakes in several containers inside the home. Other exotics were discovered in a makeshift indoor pond in the basement. So far, no one seems to know where the animals came from.
The live animals were transported to the nearby Racine Zoo, where they are now quarantined. The Wisconsin Department of National Resources has assisted with the case.
“We’ll take care of them for as long as is practical,” explained Jay Christie, zoo president. “Beyond that, it’s up to the courts to decide.”
Does Wisconsin need a statewide exotic pets law?
Kenosha does have a city ordinance banning the keeping of dangerous wild animals. So far, however, no official charges have been filed, although the investigation is ongoing. The homeowner has been unavailable for comment.
Are exotic pets safe?
Venomous and otherwise dangerous animals require considerable care and precautions to protect their owners and neighbors. Occasionally, such creatures may escape.
Should special legislation and perhaps licensing be required for exotic pet ownership? How about care and safety training for those who desire to obtain such animals?
Here’s a thought about exotic pet safety.
Across the United States, local and online registries mark the spots where potentially dangerous individuals (such as those convicted of sexual crimes) reside. What about a registry of potentially perilous pets? And by what standards would eligibility be measured?
Please note: Thank you for reading and for sharing the link to this article with others. Feel free to +1, Digg, Facebook, Pin, Stumble, Tweet, or otherwise pass the http link along. However, this content is copyrighted, so the actual article (or images) may not be copied and reposted on blogs, social networking sites, websites, or elsewhere.
Readers: You are invited to subscribe (confidentially and free) to receive e-mail updates whenever this columnist publishes a new article. Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. You are also invited to join this writer’s fan page.
Writers: Want to learn how you can join Examiner as a columnist in your choice of cities and topics? Email me for details.