LONG BEACH, N.Y., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Authorities in New York's Suffolk County have raided a pet store and seized 19 illegal exotic snakes its owner had used as promotional tools.
Authorities seized two Burmese pythons and 17 black racers from Michael Kotsonis' Shirley pet store Friday, and have begun an investigation into his use of the snakes as display items, New York Newsday reported.
"The black racers are very, very dangerous snakes," said Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesman Ray Gross, adding that a bite from the illegal snakes can cause serious infection.
Kotsonis not only was dealt a $250 fine by authorities after the raid, but suffered a bite from one of his black racer snakes while helping authorities remove the snakes from his store, the newspaper said.
The 25-year-old, who took over control of the store in March, found solace in one aspect of the raid.
"It's kind of good for advertising," he told Newsday.
Sanitation concerns limiting hotel tubs
NEW YORK, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Upscale hotels such as the Hilton New York have begun replacing their tubs with showers because some guests hesitate to bathe in commonly used areas.
The Hilton hotel and its sister locale, the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., have followed an upscale hotel trend by removing all tubs from their units in favor of higher quality shower stalls, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Sofitel Los Angeles completed a $40 million renovation earlier this year leaving less than one-fourth of its rooms with tubs.
"Given time constraints and things today, people don't have time for the 30- to 40-minute bath," said Sofitel General Manager Brent Martin. "They're going toward a great shower experience."
The hotel trend follows the results from a recent American Institute of Architects survey, which found that more spacious and luxurious showers are becoming increasingly popular, while tubs are losing their prevalence, said the paper.
NYPD commissioner receives French honor
NEW YORK, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly didn't even have to leave the Big Apple to be made a member of the French Legion of Honor.
Kelly was inducted Saturday as a member of the Legion of Honor Order, which was started by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the New York Post reported. The medal ceremony was at the French Consulate in New York.
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said France honored Kelly for his contributions to fighting terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, the newspaper said.
"It is highly symbolic for it embodies the admiration of the French Republic," Sarkozy said.
Kelly said he was "deeply appreciative" of the recognition, the newspaper said.
Prince William to face trial by potato
LONDON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Britain's Prince William ended his summer break Sunday and packed for final military officer training that includes being pelted with potatoes.
The 24-year-old will complete his training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, in southeast England, where, as part of "Operation Broadsword," he will undergo the potato-pelting by fellow students as part of riot-control training, Sky News said.
The 10-day segment is part of William's third term at the academy, which will conclude in December when he must decide which regiment he would like to join -- although it's widely speculated he will choose the Welsh Guards, the report said.
William spent part of his summer break with girlfriend Kate Middleton in the Spanish resort island of Ibiza.
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