Once Withering, Now Slithering
D.C. officers help rescue starving snake and convict former owner
The case of the severely underweight snake raised some eyebrows, acknowledges Michael Triebwasser, a humane law officer for the D.C.-based Washington Humane Society (WHS).
As he investigated the situation and pursued a cruelty conviction against the snake’s owner, people seemed a little surprised: Oh … a snake?
“It’s something that we don’t tend to see,” he says, “but it’s an animal as defined by D.C. law, just like any other animal, and deserving of protection under the law.”
The case began last December when animal control officer Shawn Covington accompanied D.C. police on their search of a suspect’s home. The search was unrelated to animal care, but the police requested help securing two dogs on the scene, Covington says.
After dealing with the dogs, Covington checked the home for other animals. In the bedroom, he discovered a small aquarium containing a malnourished, 2-foot blood python; the animal wasn’t moving and appeared to be having trouble shedding her skin—a sign of dehydration. “At first when I looked at it, I thought the snake was deceased,” Covington recalls.