By John B. Virata
Thomas Cobb can keep his boa constrictors for now. The city council of Cottonwood Heights, Utah granted him temporary permits to keep his collection of 29 boa constrictors in spite of a backlash from his Hollow Ridge neighbors who demanded to the council that they revoke the permit granted to Cobb.
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Male sunglow Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor spp.). Photo by John Bergman
According to a KUTV.com news report, Tobi Paulos who apparently spoke on behalf of 50 people from Cobb's neighborhood, said that people are concerned what the snakes might do. She claimed that he was running a business, and was animal farming for raising rats and demanded to the council "he be shut down." In support of Cobb was local veterinarian Dr. Laurel Harris, owner of Wasatch Exotic Pet Care. She told the council that Cobb kept the snakes in a safe and clean environment and does a great job in housing and caring for the snakes, similar comments that were made by the city's police several weeks ago when they issued Cobb a citation for not having an exotic animal permit.
"Every dog in that neighborhood could potentially pose more risk to any child than any of his snakes ever could," Harris told KUTV.
The mayor of the city, Kelvyn Cullimore told the protestors of Cobb's collection of snakes that after Cobb was cited for not having an exotic animal permit, he applied for the permits, which the city granted. Cullimore also told the protestors that the city conducted inspections of Cobb's home and determined that the snakes were housed properly in the basement, and there is no reason to even think the snakes are dangerous to the community.
Speaking at the council and choking back tears, Cobb said that the neighbors who are against him keeping his pets never even tried to know him until now, with many giving him dirty looks and spying on his activities at his home. "It's hard to know there are so many people who don't know me but are against me," he told KUTV. Cobb also has had to install a video surveillance system on his house after receiving anonymous threats against his home, according to news reports. He said that the people who live very near to him expressed their support for him and have actually been in the house and have seen the collection of snakes. He also said that he has invited those detractors to come over to see his collection as well.
Paulos, who told ABC4 that property values in the neighborhood, among other things will drop because of the snakes, started what appears to be a door to door petition in an effort to get the city council to deny permits to Cobb. A supporter of Cobb started a petition at thepetitionsite.com. Paulos' petition has 44 signatures. The petition in support of Cobb has close to 3,000 signatures as of this writing. To sign the petition in support of Cobb, go the The Petition Site's website here.
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Are the residents of the Hollow Ridge neighborhood in Cottonwood Heights who are opposed to Cobb's collection of boas ignorant when it comes to snakes and boa constrictors? Or is there an ulterior motive as Cobb asserts to the city council? Join the discussion and leave a comment below.
Watch a Fox News report on the council meeting below