MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Edward Mercer, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission non-native Wildlife Technician, holds a Burmese Python during a press conference in the Florida Everglades about the non-native species on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission along with the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, National Park Service, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

I assumed it was coming in the wake of the escape cobra situation in Raleigh. NC Lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s exotic animal regulations. And I fully support it. In case you missed a highly dangerous, venomous cobra escaped in Raleigh a few weeks ago. The snake was a pet, and the owner who was in possession of around 70 other snakes, is currently facing 40+ charges in relation to the incident. The same individual was bitten by one of his reptiles earlier this year. The bit required antivenom to be flown in from the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. This situation, which terrified neighbors and used a significant amount of local resources and funds to find the snake, has state and local lawmakers taking a long look at the laws that allowed it to happen.

North Carolina State Senators Wiley Nickel and Jay Chaudhuri have teamed up with Raleigh City Council Member David Knight to discuss a ban on the possession of dangerous animals or increase regulations on them. The town hall discussion, which will focus specifically on non-native venomous snakes and big cats, will be tonight, July 22 at 5 p.m. on Zoom. Zoology experts and leaders with the humane society will join lawmakers as part of the town hall.

I fully support banning these types of animals. In my opinion, there is no reason they need to be kept as pets. We just witnessed the chaos and fear that can be induced if something happens, and the community is very lucky that the animal was caught. It came out afterward that the snake had actually been loose for months without being reported. These animals are a danger to the public, and I would not be able to rest easy knowing my neighbors had these types of reptiles. NC has some of the loosest exotic animal regulations in the country.

If you’d like to participate in the town hall, please register here.