SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A man who was fined for allowing his pet snake to slither freely in a South Dakota park said an animal control officer suggested he use a leash to restrain the reptile.
Jerry Kimball said he initially thought the recommendation was a joke because it was April Fool's Day when he was fined $190 and ticketed last week for "animals running at large," told the Argus Leader.
"He was literally asking me to put a rope around my snake," Kimball said. "I was like, 'Dude, no.' I was dumbfounded."
Kimball was approached by the officer after a woman complained that his Fire Bee Ball Python was roaming freely at Falls Park in Sioux Falls.
Animal Control Supervisor Julie DeJong said a city ordinance requires all pets to be leashed or restrained in public. She said pet snakes can be held or kept in a container to comply.
"It's in public and it's not on a leash, it's at large. The ordinance doesn't really distinguish between animals," she said.
DeJong added that snake lovers should be more sensitive to the aversion many people feel toward the animal.
While non-venomous snakes are legal to own, not all park visitors will welcome a python in a park.
But Kimball said he considers it his mission to rid the public's fear of snakes.