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South Dakota man cited $190 for not putting leashes on pythons

By
Ben Hooper

April 10 (UPI) -- A South Dakota man is fighting a pair of $95 fines handed down by an animal control officer who cited him for failing to put leashes on his pets -- ball pythons.

Jerry Kimball said he took his 4-month-old fire bee ball pythons to Falls Park in Sioux Falls on April 1 for an impromptu "educational meet and greet" with curious members of the public and he was approached by an animal control officer after he set the snakes down in the grass for a bathroom break.

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"He was like 'technically you have to have your snakes on a leash.' And I was like, 'Sir they don't make such an item,'" Kimball told KDLT-TV.

A citation Kimball shared on Facebook shows he was issued two $95 fines for "animals running at large."

"It was April Fool's Day, so I thought he was playing a joke," Kimball told the Argus Leader newspaper. "They're not fast creatures. They're not going to run away."

Sioux Falls Animal Control Supervisor Julie DeJong said the snakes are allowed in city parks, but they have to be held or kept in containers. She said the city ordinance does not allow for any pets to roam free in the free.

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"So that means you as a pet owner can't take your dog to the park and let it run around without a leash on. The same thing holds for any other animal that you want to take to the park, you have to have it restrained in some way," DeJong said.

Kimball said he plans to fight the fines and is working with the Sioux Falls Herpetological Society to come up with a solution for future meet and greets.

"Maybe an enclosure big enough to where they can still maneuver but still be contained?" he suggested.

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