Sioux City mulls limits on pets such as snakes in homes | Local news


SIOUX CITY — Responding to the removal of over 50 snakes in a Sioux City home in July, the city is proposing new household limits on such pets.

City staff is recommending that the Council adopt an ordinance that would treat other domestic animals the same as dogs and cats. The city currently allows no more than 3 dogs or cats, with a limit on no more than two of the same species. For example, residents can own two dogs and one cat or two cats and one dog.

The proposed ordinance would expand the definition of “domestic animals” to any species that “normally is bred, raised, and is accustomed to live in or about human habitation.” The list of domesticated animals would include, but not be limited to, dogs, cats, snakes, lizards, rodents, rabbits, ferrets, and birds, according to the ordinance.

Hamsters, guinea pigs and fish would be excluded from the per household limits. The ordinance also would exclude K-9 dogs and other animals owned by the Police Department, animals in a zoo and livestock at a farm.

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The ordinance, which the council will consider at its weekly meeting at 4 pm Monday at City Hall, follows the city’s removal of 58 snakes from a townhouse at 4624 Harrison St. on July 11. Animal control officers removed them after one of the 50 ball pythons escaped from an enclosure in Parker Moos’ home and the owner of the adjoining townhouse found it in her garage and called the police.

Authorities on July 26 returned 50 ball pythons to Moos, who found a temporary home for them at a rural residence near Lawton, Iowa.

Ball pythons are among the species classified under city code as dangerous animals, and are not permitted within city limits.

Moos said Friday he still has three king snakes and about a dozen corn snakes at his townhouse. Such non-venomous snakes are both permitted under city code.

The ordinance the council is scheduled to consider Monday, though, would likely force him to find new homes for many of his remaining snakes.

“We weren’t looking for it to go this way at all,” he said Friday. “I don’t know what purpose they’re serving, pushing to get rid of my snakes.”

Moos, a Sioux City Realtor, had originally hoped to see the city change its ordinance to allow ball pythons and certain other types of non-venomous snakes — as Iowa law does — within city limits. He launched an online petition drive on Change.org to gain support for the change. He said the particular type of ball pythons he owns don’t grow nearly as long or get as heavy as other pythons and are not dangerous, he said.

Moss, who plans to make his case to the Council at Monday’s meeting, said he has consulted with the leader of a US reptile organization.

He noted the non-venomous king and corn snakes take up little space in his townhouse and don’t pose a threat to the public.

“They stay in their cages. They don’t roam. It’s not like they can cause any damage,” he said.


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