Cottonwood Heights home has 29 snakes, 80 rats

Posted at 12:00 PM, Apr 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-26 21:24:20-04

A Cottonwood Heights man has been given one week to get rid of his snake collection.

Thomas Cobb tells Fox 13 News he has been keeping exotic snakes for decades. But problems with his pets arose after moving into a Cottonwood Heights neighborhood 10 months ago.

Animal Control was contacted by neighbors complaining of foul odors they believe were coming from Cobb's home.

"We got some complaints from some neighbors. They were concerned about the snakes, concerned about the smell, the waste," said Sgt. Dan Bartlett, Cottonwood Heights Police Dept.

Cobb invited Fox 13 News into his home where his 29 boa constrictors are kept in individual containers neatly stacked in his basement. Cobb also has 80 rats in the home, which serve as a food source for his boas.

"You don't take a scalpel from a surgeon, you don't take a typewriter away from a writer, you don't take boas from a boa keeper," he said.

Cobb says his snake collection is secure, and he has no fears about raising two small children in the same home.

"They're in a heat-controlled environment, humidity-controlled environment, cement walls surrounding all four areas," Cobb said.

Cottonwood Heights Animal Control says since Cobb isn't licensed to keep exotic snakes he must obtain a license in one week or remove the snakes.

Thomas isn't willing to give up his snakes, and says if he's not able to work something out with the city, he'd rather move and take his pets with him.