West Fargo, ND Residents May Keep Certain Constricting Snakes If New Proposal Becomes Law


West Fargo, ND Residents May Keep Certain Constricting Snakes If New Proposal Becomes Law

Ordinance passed first reading that sets up permitting system and limits the number of snakes to three.

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Residents of West Fargo in North Dakota may get to legally keep constricting snakes in the future as city commissioners passed a first reading of a proposed law that would allow people to keep certain non-venomous constricting snakes. If a second reading is passed, the proposal becomes law.

Currently city residents are not allowed to keep "any poisonous, venomous, constricting or inherently dangerous member of the reptile or amphibian families, including rattlesnakes, boa constrictors, pit vipers, crocodiles and alligators.”

Boa Constrictor

Boa constrictors, currently banned in West Fargo, ND would be allowed under new ordinance

The proposed ordinance would remove boa constrictors from that list and would enable residents to keep up to three snakes, provided they obtain a $150 permit. The permit is good for up to three snakes and is renewable each year at a cost of $50. The proposal would also allow certain anacondas and pythons. Permits must be obtained prior to bringing any snakes into the city, and failure to obtain a permit would result in a $100 fine and 10 hours of community service or both, which is the same penalty for not obtaining a license for a dog or cat.

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Snake keepers who wish to take their animals out in public would require police approval, though this may change under the second reading to allow for visits to the vet or for educational purposes. The penalty for bringing a snake out in public without police approval would be a $250 fine or 25 hours of community service.

The proposed ordinance came about after resident Robert Butts III took his Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) out to a local park to slither in the grass and bask in the sun last summer. Other park user became concerned and called police who told him that pet pythons were not allowed in the city.