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Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Wants Restriction On Some Exotic Reptile Pets

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris wants new restrictions on some exotic reptile pets.

Harris wants people who own alligators, crocodiles, venomous snakes or some other exotic reptiles to keep them in secure cages and post signs outside warning people about the animals.

Under her proposal, violators would face hundreds of dollars in fines. This comes after several alligators escaped in the Pittsburgh area this summer.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The council will vote on this ordinance on Dec. 3.

"You need to make sure also that everyone else is safe," Harris said.


The biggest case this summer was when Pittsburgh Police and animal care and control officers removed more than a half a dozen exotic animals from the Beechview home of Mark McGowan who owns the five-foot-long alligator named Chomp that escaped from his house in June.

"In total 32 animals have been removed from the house," said Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Public Information Officer Chris Togneri. "Three alligators, one had a bloody neck wound, one Burmese python, two iguanas, one rattlesnake, one mild lizard, two small iguanas and four hairless rats."

While Chomp was perhaps the most notable alligator escapee, alligators captured also include one in Riverfront Park, another in Carrick and a little 2-foot-long alligator outside a Giant Eagle in Shaler.

"The legislation is needed for the humane treatment of the animals listed," CEO of Humane Animal Rescue Dan Rossi said. "It is also important for the safety of first responders and the public that may come in contact with the animals."

Harris was unable to give a number of how many residents have alligators, crocodiles or venomous snakes.

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