Snake owners advocate for amended ban

MINOT, N.D. - Snake enthusiasts say fear is the biggest challenge in getting the City of Minot to lift a ban on ownership of certain reptiles.

A special subcommittee plans to draft a recommendation on changing the law later this week for the full city council. Many people consider snakes as pets.

"One time at the pet store I actually got to experience the snakes myself and I'm like wow, these snakes are really cool and I just got used to them,” said McKinzie Platz, Minot Resident.

But, others say they are scary and dangerous creatures.

"From the dawn of time, anything that is evil. A snake has been represented as something that is evil and in fact, I feel and a lot of people feel that they are beautiful animals,” said Marshal Platz, Member of the Animal Ordinance Committee.

North Dakota State law prohibits ownership of venomous snakes or constrictors... but Platz says the animals that would be allowed are not harmful to the public.

"What I’m advocating are not venomous, they're not large constrictors, they're smaller ball pythons, Colubridaes which would be corn snakes, milk snakes would be no danger to anybody," said Platz.

Randy McDonald, the Souris Valley Animal Shelter director says if city leaders amend the ban... the shelter would not have the resources or staff to house the animals if they escape.

"Surrendering pets typically they would go to animal shelters or something of that nature, there's nothing in town that would support snake rescue right now," said McDonald.

But he also says no snake would be left out.

"Our goal as the animal shelter is to provide happy healthy lives for animals. Not just the fuzzy ones like the cats, dogs or the rabbits. Every animal deserves a fair shake at life," said McDonald.

Platz says if the law would be amended, he would feel responsible for creating a snake shelter.

"It would be my responsibility to set up a place to where anything that was captured or taken from somebody's home, that it has a place to go. And that's one of the things I want to look into doing is making sure there is a facility specifically for reptiles and snakes," said Marshal.

Platz also says he believes education would help people get over their fear of the animals.

The Animal Ordinanace committee will meet Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the council Chambers.