Mathews Considering Exotic Animal Law

An investigation is underway in Mathews County after a man threatened a deputy with a snake; another man took a large boa constrictor onto a beach where young children were playing; and a home full of snakes, tarantulas, birds, frogs, dogs, turtles, chinchillas and pigs was discovered.

According to the Daily Press, there is no ordinance in Mathews County calling for the tracking, monitoring, or proper care of exotic pets.
Now, county officials are considering an exotic pet ordinance that they feel would add some solutions to the county’s apparent problem.

One woman reported that she and her daughter and three grandchildren were at Hallieford Beach on June 8 when a man appeared with a large boa constrictor in a bag.

He told everyone that he was going to let it out, but there was nothing anyone could do about it. Instead, everyone on the beach just left.

A couple of years ago, Michael Morgan was charged with assault of a law enforcement officer after he threat-ened to throw a snake at a Mathews deputy who responded to a report of a domestic dispute at Morgan’s home.

Animal Control also investigated a mother and daughter who were operating a pet party service with various animals, some considered exotic under state law, including six tarantulas, a scorpion, two anacondas measuring over six and 15 feet, and a python.

The proposed ordinance in Mathews County would be modeled after Gloucester’s ordinance, and require exotic pet owners to obtain a permit costing $50 initially, and $25 annually to renew.

The Mathews Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposed exotic pet ordinance at its July 22 meeting beginning at 7 p.m.