Scales of justice turn on evicted snake and family



The snake was lounging on a heating pad at an animal shelter.
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
WARREN -- It's the case of a big boa in a burlap bag on a bed.
Authorities had to find new homes for an 8-foot boa constrictor, three pit bulldogs and a cat as occupants were being evicted Thursday morning from a garbage-strewn house at 1434 Southwest Blvd.
"They had no new home to go to," John Onatz, city animal control officer, said of the man, woman and two small children being evicted by a landlord and a municipal court bailiff.
The snake was in a burlap sack on a bed in the house.
As their possessions were being removed to the front yard, the occupants of the home had placed the two adult pit bulldogs, a pit bulldog puppy and a cat into a car in the driveway.
Couldn't take the car
Police, however, refused to let the occupants leave in the car because they said the car was unsafe to drive.
"You couldn't have let that car get out of the driveway -- no bumper on it, no taillights, everything smashed in, doors ajar," Onatz said. "We have a dilemma. Now we've got to tow a car, but what are you going to do with a car full of animals?"
A friend of the occupants' took the cat. But the man being evicted "pretty much surrendered the animals to me, saying 'Look. I don't have anywhere to go. My animals sure don't have anywhere to go either,'" Onatz recalled.
Onatz took the dogs to the Trumbull County dog warden's office, and the snake was removed to the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County. The names and whereabouts of the people being evicted were not available Thursday afternoon.
Not so big
"It sounds big but it really isn't," Paula Humphrey, league shelter supervisor, said as she looked at the snake on a heating pad.
"They're just long animals," Humphrey said, noting the boa weighs only 30 pounds.
Humphrey said that in the past the shelter has received many snakes, including some as large as Thursday's arrival.

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