Python Continues To Spark Controversy In Bay St. Louis

The 17 foot long snake that got loose in an apartment complex in Bay St. Louis continues to spark controversy in one Bay St. Louis neighborhood.

As we first reported about two weeks ago, the large Burmese Python names "Baby" was missing for four days. It was later found by its owner in the attic of the apartment building.

Now neighbors are asking city leaders to step in to ensure this never happens again.

Joy Galloway lives about a block away from the apartment complex where "Baby" escaped. She says the anxiety and fear she and her neighbors felt when they heard a big snake was on the loose, remains fresh on her mind.

"When we found out it had escaped, my next door neighbor left because she was afraid to stay in her house. She went to a motel just to get away until it was caught. When a 17 foot snake escapes people become frightened," Galloway said.

Galloway and her neighbors are circulating a petition asking city leaders to adopt an ordinance banning exotic pets within the city limits.

"We have ordinances for everything else, why not snakes? Not just snakes, exotic pets."

Bay St. Louis Resident Mike Robertson, agrees with Joy.

"When you're in a community or township, you suspect that all those things are taken care of, but this one must have slipped through the cracks. And this is the first time, maybe, this has happened."

The snake's owner has said the reptile doesn't live in Bay St. Louis. She lives in Mobile with two other large snakes. "Baby" was only in town for safe harbor during Hurricane Ivan.

But Galloway told WLOX NEWS, "It doesn't make any difference if he homesteads there or not, it shouldn't be there period."

Residents will present their petition to city leaders at an up coming city council meeting.

"I would suspect the Mayor and or the City Council would first approach the Municipal League to survey any other ordinances in the State of Mississippi that may exist at this time, that have already stood the test of court challenges. I'm sure there are constitutional issues that might have to be considered . I'm sure there are rights involved on both sides," Bay St. Louis Cultural Affairs Director, Mike Cuevas said.

Cuevas says the hope is to come up with something that satisfies all everyone.

by Al Showers