Heidelberg moves to regulate exotic animals

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Heidelberg council has asked the planning commission to study and recommend regulations to govern ownership, boarding and other issues related to exotic and domestic creatures, including chickens and bees.

Council Vice President Carrie Nolan said July 15 the request was sparked by a recent incident in neighboring Scott, where a resident was found to have more than 20 exotic snakes, at least two of which were 12-foot pythons who sunned themselves in the resident’s front yard.

“We want to look at it as a council and decide what is reasonable to make sure everybody can live with peace of mind,” she said.

Scott is looking to change language in its ordinances to clamp down on snakes and feral cats.

“Scott Township had its hands tied when the Fish and Boat Commission came in. They told the township [that] with no local ordinance [governing snakes], they have nothing to enforce,” Ms. Nolan said.

The state Fish and Boat Commission regulates only the 21 snake species native to Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Township, Monroeville, White Oak and Robinson are other local communities that have adopted ordinances governing exotic pets.

The vote to ask the planning commission to study the issue was unanimous.

Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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