Update: Los Angeles animal control found 84 snakes (some poisonous) and eight alligators during yesterday's investigation at a home in Thousand Oaks. The police led the homeowner, Todd Kates, away in handcuffs, the Los Angeles Times reports. Kates kept some of the animals in his home but also rented a storage space outside of city limits, where he kept more reptiles. In addition to the snakes and alligators, animal control also seized turtles, birds, and other animals, representative Don Barre told the Los Angeles Times.
Police were alerted to the reptiles after a cobra from the house got loose twice in the last three years, and bit a neighborhood dog during one escape.
It appears that during the search and seizure of the animals, at least one snake got loose. Authorities asked residents to stay inside.
Read our original story below:
A resident in the City of Thousand Oaks, CA (a small city in the greater Los Angeles area) has been housing dangerous snakes and alligators in their home — and they've likely been doing it for several years.
The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control told Refinery29 that officials had found both venomous snakes and alligators inside the home after they served the resident a search warrant this morning.
Reports from local news stations claim that at least eight alligators have been found so far, though animal care has not confirmed how many reptiles or which species they have found.
The resident did have a restricted species permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, but animal control believed they might be in violation of that permit. Permit holders are subject to periodic inspections and have to go through "multiple levels of permits and approvals," according to a statement animal control shared with Refinery29.
Despite this, it came to animal control's attention that the resident could illegally be housing deadly snakes in a residential neighborhood, and they were concerned for the safety of the neighbors.
A cobra was spotted in the neighborhood in 2014, and local news sources believe it is likely the snake came from the same home.
Animal control told Refinery29 that officials are not sure yet how the snakes and alligators will be handled after being removed from the house, or where they will end up. The investigation is still ongoing, and Refinery29 will update this story as more details are shared.
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