Killeen’s animal advisory committee is proposing an amendment that would tighten up an existing ordinance prohibiting ownership of venomous snakes in the city.
Holli Clements, assistant city attorney and board member, said the current ordinance states owning venomous snakes are prohibited. However, in several places in the body of the ordinance, they are referred to as “poisonous” snakes.
By definition, venomous reptiles inject toxins into their prey while poisonous reptiles are toxic to consume or touch.
Councilman Jonathan Okray, committee chairman, said the board is proposing the amendment in an effort to “clean up” the language of the ordinance and add the phrase “including venomous snakes.”
Clements said the board began examining the ordinance when residents requested the ordinance be made broader to allow for venomous snakes.
“We (the committee) looked at it and the common belief was that the prohibitions were good,” she said. “We decided that we even wanted to strengthen them a little.”
Okray said having a venomous snake could propose problems from several different standpoints.
“It’s a hazard if the fire department, EMS or police have to enter someone’s home or apartment and are unaware that there’s a rattlesnake or some other type of venomous snake in there,” he said. “It could also pose a threat to the people living in the house with it if it gets out of its confinement, or even someone living nearby if it escapes its confinement and gets out of the house.”
Okray said local health institutions don’t have the anti-venom needed to combat the toxins if a person encounters a venomous snake, and that’s a chance the city “doesn’t want to take.”
Clements said there were three people present at the committee meeting requesting the city allow venomous snakes.
The ordinance also was amended to prohibit any reptile that will grow to exceed 6 feet in length.
The City Council still has to vote on the proposed amendment.