Scott resident complains about neighbor's snakes

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Scott officials are looking into measures to control the harboring of snakes in residential areas.

David Calabria Jr. of Meadowlark Drive told commissioners May 27 that his next door neighbor owns multiple large snakes and that he has seen two 12-foot pythons sunning in the man's front yard.

Snakes enjoy warm sunshine because they are cold-blooded.

When township police investigated, they found more than 20 snakes in the neighbor's house, Mr. Calabria said.

The situation has gotten so tense that Mr. Calabria said his 7-year-old daughter is afraid to go outside, A new addition to the family is expected next month.

Mr. Calabria wasn't the only one with concerns about snakes.

Phil Haines, also of Meadowlark Drive, told the board he saw a dead California king snake on North Wren Drive while driving home from work one day.

"You can buy these things from anywhere," Mr. Haines told officials.

Neither snake is poisonous. Though California king snakes usually don't exceed 4 feet and are considered harmless to humans, they possess sharp teeth that can bite.

Pythons, however, are much larger and can kill for food by wrapping around and crushing the victim.

Mr. Calabria fears that the pythons will roam and get lost. His father, Commissioner David Calabria, said police told the snake owner, who was not identified, not to let the snakes outside.

Commissioner Tom Castello suggested that the township send a letter stating that snakes are to be kept inside. Officials also said they would look into what could be done about the situation.

Scott manager Denise Fitzgerald said the township has an exotic animal ordinance that covers tigers and lions. Bob Fischer, code enforcement officer/building inspector said the state Fish and Boat Commission regulates harboring snakes.

Though the Fish and Boat Commission website indicates that its regulations pertain only to the 21 snake species native to Pennsylvania, it also notes that some municipalities have enacted laws because of incidents in which snakes have gotten loose.

Among the local municipalities that have adopted their own exotic pet ordinances are Elizabeth Township, Monroeville, White Oak and Robinson.

Meadowlark Drive is a residential street with 90 homes.

To keep unwanted snakes out of their dwellings, residents are advised to seal foundation cracks, keep basement windows closed and keep thick bushes and piles of wood away from their homes.

In other public comments, Beth Tomasovic of Berkwood Drive inquired if action is planned to prevent flooding in her area from summer thunderstorms. She lost a car and a water heater in a previous severe downpour. Her concern was shared by Commissioner Bill Wells, who echoed similar concerns about Pine Trees Drive in his ward.

"Every time it rains, I get scared," he said.

Mrs. Fitzgerald said the township is applying for funds to finance waterline repairs.

Also, Pat Martin of Center Street informed officials that the sinkhole on her street is getting worse.

"The sinkhole is sinking further into the ground now." she said.

The township placed barricades around the sinkhole, and they started leaning into the deepening hole, too.

Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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