Multiple Alligators And Venomous Snakes Found At Thousand Oaks Home
Authorities seized multiple alligators and several venomous snakes at a home in a residential neighborhood of Thousand Oaks on Thursday. A search warrant was executed on two properties in the Thousand Oaks area—one at a home on a residential street, and one at a rural property in unincorporated Ventura County—after two cobras appeared in the residential neighborhood over a three-year period. KTLA reports that eight American alligators and a "number of snakes, some venomous," were among the animals found at the home Thursday.
The first loose cobra, a venomous 4-foot-long snake, appeared in the neighborhood in 2014. That cobra is now housed at the San Diego Zoo, according to the L.A Times.
"It turns out it was actually [found] next door [to the house where the search warrant was executed] at another residential property," County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) spokesperson Don Barre told LAist. "The second incident, more recently, was about eight weeks ago, where [the cobra] was just kind of loose in the street and a resident ran it over with their car because they were alarmed by it."
"That's what warranted the search warrant," Barre told LAist. According to a press release from DACC, it came to the department's attention that a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Restricted Species Permit holder "was potentially in violation of the conditions of the permit to possess dozens of very dangerous and highly regulated species of reptiles."
"It appears that, despite the multiple levels of permits, approvals, and periodic inspections required, the permit holder was housing deadly venomous snakes in an unauthorized, densely populated, residential neighborhood, and in such a manner that they posed a substantial risk to public safety," the statement continued. "All of the agencies involved share serious concerns for the potential that some unsuspecting person or pet may be injured or killed as a result of the failure to maintain these restricted species as required, and are working together to identify and remove the hazard."
DACC began a criminal investigation into the situation after the second cobra was spotted eight weeks ago, and they served Thursday's search warrant with assistance from multiple agencies, including the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. Barre told LAist that someone reported having seen the snake found eight weeks ago coming from the property in question.
According to a statement from DACC, it's not yet known whether criminal charges will be filed.
"Right now, we're taking inventory of the actual animals that are here. We have found snakes and several crocodilians [alligators are crocodilians] but we don't know how many and what species yet. We'll be here for a few more hours in order to finalize everything and get more information," Barre said.
Update [1 p.m.]: The L.A. Times reports that the eight crocodilians, each of which were two to three feet long, were found in a murky pool on the property. It remains unclear whether criminal charges will be filed.