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Nearly 15-foot Burmese python killed after prowling Missouri neighborhood

"I'm sure it was hungry and whatever else, so it was being a little more brazen in its actions as far as coming out and trying to get the dog and other animals around here," Clayton Dement said.

By
Ben Hooper
Leagh Dement stands with the 14-foot, 7-inch Burmese python her husband, Clayton, shot this week in Warren County, Mo. KTVI-TV video screenshot
Leagh Dement stands with the 14-foot, 7-inch Burmese python her husband, Clayton, shot this week in Warren County, Mo. KTVI-TV video screenshot

WARRENTON, Mo., July 29 (UPI) -- A snake blamed for the disappearances of small animals in rural Missouri was shot by a resident and identified as a Burmese python measuring more than 14 feet long.

Residents of the rural Warren County neighborhood said they spotted the massive snake recently, about the same time two dogs and three chickens went missing in the area, and the serpent was finally cornered in the early hours Tuesday on Pauline Horstdaniel's property.

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Horstdaniel said she was roused by her dog barking in the yard and she saw the snake when she went out to investigate.

"I was terrified," she told KTVI-TV. "I got my husband out of bed. He's out there in his underwear with his gun."

The couple called Clayton Dement for backup, and the neighbor soon arrived to kill the python with two blasts from his shotgun.

"I'm sure it was hungry and whatever else, so it was being a little more brazen in its actions as far as coming out and trying to get the dog and other animals around here," Dement told CBS Radio's The Morning After.

Residents said snakes are not an unusual sight in the area, but the 14-foot, 7-inch Burmese python was a first for the neighborhood.

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"You only see snakes like this in the movies and at the zoo," said Dement's wife, Leagh.

Authorities said Burmese pythons don't live in the wild in Missouri and there have been no reports of missing pet snakes in the area. However, a state Department of Conservation spokesman said Burmese pythons are often released into the wild when they become too large for pet owners to handle.

"It's a shame that animals have to be killed because somebody just didn`t care about it," neighbor Larry Fahrig said.

Dement said he previously attempted to capture the snake Sunday.

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