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Toddler Killed by Pet Python: Parents Charged

Toddler Killed by Pet Python: Parents Charged

The first couple to face criminal charges in a pet snake attack in Florida could be tried together for the reason of “judicial economy,” said Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino. In other words, the evidence, witnesses and facts are the same, or similar enough, that it’s practical to try them together.

Last year an 8.5 foot long pet Burmese python escaped from it’s glass container and killed the couple’s two-year-old daughter. Charges against the   two range from manslaughter to third-degree murder to child neglect. Both parents have pleaded not guilty and want to be tried separately. Defense attorneys say that trying the parents together will not provide fair trials for either party.

TAKE ACTION: Wild and exotic animals should not be be kept as pets!

The tragedy actually took place July 1, 2009, but the courts have been overloaded with cases, and delays have become common. The case is expected to be tried very soon though. 

Several weeks before the attack, a social worker noticed the snake and a pit bull during a visit to the the home. At the time, the investigation focused on an allegation of drug use in the home, which was not substantiated by the visit.

It was reported in the affidavit that the snake’s aquarium container lacked a secure cover or lock. There were also no doors within the home. And one of the parents allegedly told investigators the snake had escaped five to seven times before the strangling occurred.

There are now an estimated tens of thousands of pythons and anacondas in Florida. They are all non-native and were introduced to the environment accidentally, or by pet owners who no longer wanted them. In fact, there are so many, Florida has a seasonal hunt to reduce their numbers.
Thirteen people have been killed in the U.S. since 1980 by pet pythons, according to a related article, and five of those were children.

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Image Credit: KhayaL

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210 comments

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6:40PM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Maybe next time instead of a giant python they'll get a tiger, fence it off in the backyard, and CNN will come out with another incompetent story, "exotic captive pet eats couple for dinner". Can you guess what happens next? They start talking smack about the tiger. Then tiger gets killed. You're gonna put down the only real champ in the whole equation? If they were dumb enough to raise an exotic wild animal that belongs in the wild then they deserved to be eaten. So, I have no remorse for the couple. My heart, however, goes out to the child. It's not her fault her parents are were unenlightened half wits.

10:55AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

With recent news that mammalian life in the Everglades is nearly decimated because of Burmese pythons that people took their after realizing they didn't know how to handle them and wanted to get rid of them, I think it is pretty clear that humans should not "Own" snakes.

Fascinating as they may be, there is too much possibility of idiocy.

10:24AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Humans aren't the brightest bulbs on the planet. What do people do with pet pythons that grow too big in other regions? I see the baby ball pythons in the pet store all the time. Scary thought.

12:56PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Glenda L., snakes are incredibly fascinating...mine eats rats, (I choose to not own a larger snake or reptile less than what I can handle)... and that is all part of the food chain. When the supply lessens, the prices go up... (gas, beef, vegetables, etc...)
My oldest cat is now 13ish, and smacked my 18 month old granddaughter on the face last week. I was sitting with both of them, holding my granddaughter's hand as she petted the cat, (teaching her "NICE")...T.G. my cat is declawed. There was NO hours of entertainment, NO selflessness & NO unconditional love, on the cat's part. The cat was raised with MANY small children...she is old...she is more "unpredictable" now, than ever... Get over the snake...put more energy & focus on getting the druggies & irresponsible adults & their irresponsible children off the streets! Maybe the SNAKE population will deplete!!!

12:27PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Watch Animal Planet, and find out what people are doing with snakes they can no longer handle...EDUCATE YOURSELVES! IT'S NOT THE SNAKE'S FAULT!!!
Would you leave your baby in the bathtub to answer the phone? (many people do)...Would you lock your child in a closet for 4+ days, with no food, water, sitting in their own feces??? Would you BIRTH a child having no knowledge, intuition, instinct, & possibly or probably addicted to drugs from the the time the egg & sperm met, hence to try to rear this offspring, & expect anything less than perfect??? Do you cage &/or kill your children you didn't raise properly? I'm just sayin'...

12:04PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Unfortunately people, this has become WAAAAYYYY over-rated!
Sandy V. I'm sorry to hear about your sister being ill, but you can not blame a pitbull or a snake or any other animal, for the terrible choices the drug abusers make; therefore, I am uncertain...have you contradicted yourself? Also, I have owned a Ball Python for approx 10 yrs. He is "maybe" 4ft long...after 10 yrs... I cannot find proof of Ball Pythons exceeding approx 6' 5" in length. My question to you is, are you blaming the snake, the dog, or the drug addicts? When feeding your sister's ??? Python, did you drop the food into his/her cage or "living" space? I would like to believe that an educated person, adopting ANY pet what-so-ever, let alone a herpetogical pet, birthing a child, posessing a weapon, would gather ALL NECESSARY information regarding behavior, housing, feeding, maintenance, etc... Is any species 100% predictable? I can assure you, over the years, I have housed and cared for many exotic pets. I have ALWAYS had a swimming pool in my backyard. I have always posessed no less than 9 guns. For a minimum of 8 yrs, I provided child care in my home for 8+ children. It doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to know right from wrong, raise/nuture/direct children...Perhaps people that want to own ANY type of pet, child, gun,... should be required to hold certification...as with the DMV, NRA, Parenting Classes in the EVENT of a divorce...Check the Stats on drownings, (children & adults) vs. Stats on car accide

4:09AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

What exactly do you get out of keeping a snake as a pet anyways? Dogs and cats, you get unconditional love, hours of entertainment, countless lessons in selflessness, the list goes on and on. But a snake?

10:32AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Wild animals are at their best where they belong and that is in the wild. The trade in "exotic" pets does immeasurable harm to what is left of this planet's wildlife. The only pity is that these 2 idios will escape the justice that would truly suit them and that would be irreversible sterilization.

2:33PM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Unbelievable!

10:39PM PST on Nov 15, 2010

I've been keeping and breeding burmese pythons for 11 years and would like to stress that this snake is highly unlikely to be dangerous to humans, although I do agree with the advice to keep cats and other small pets indoors until it is caught. This species may seem scary due to its large size, but they are gentle giants and will not 'attack' humans, although they may strike out in defense if they feel threatened. The majority of cases reported in the media about burmese pythons biting their owners are the keepers' own fault, usually a result of handling rats and mice (the pythons' natural food) and then trying to pick up their snakes who mistake them for a meal.
http://www.wildlifeworld360.com/beautiful-burmese-python.html

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