Snake's owner says 'no' to cleanup bill

BOSTON, April 6 (UPI) -- A woman reunited with her snake lost for two months on a Massachusetts train, says she won't pay cleanup and disinfecting fees demanded by the transit company.

The 3-foot boa escaped from her owner, Melissa Moorhouse Jan. 6 on the southbound Red Line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train.


MBTA inspectors checked the car Moorhouse was on and then checked the entire six-car train, finding no sign of the snake. Moorhouse said transit officials "asked me what drugs I was on and if I was hallucinating," referring to the loss of her snake and subsequently rebuffed her calls requesting to personally search the train.

The boa, Penelope, was found and captured on the Red Line Feb. 3 and two weeks later Moorhouse received a letter from the MBTA Treasurer-Controller Wesley Wallace:

"While I am pleased that you were reunited with your pet snake, your violation of the MBTA's pet policy resulted in unanticipated clean-up costs,'' wrote Wallace. "To rid the subway car of any traces of germs such as salmonella, which may have been left by your snake, MBTA maintenance crews had to scrub and disinfect the Red Line car in which your snake was found.''


"That's for reptiles that lay eggs. Boas give live birth,'' Moorhouse said, adding cooks who handle raw chicken and take public transportation pose a greater risk.

Moorhouse said she cannot and would not pay the $650 bill, alleging the cleanup was unnecessary, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

"I'm in no position to pay for that,'' said Moorhouse, saying the money is more than she can afford on her disability payments and her husband's warehouse salary. "And if the T officials had given me any respect or listened to me in the first place, this wouldn't have happened.''

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