After a deadly zebra cobra slithered loose in the City of Oaks earlier this summer, a proposed city rule could ban residents from owning wild and dangerous animals, which apparently also includes opossums, raccoons, and ducks. The ordinance would also forbid residents from feeding feral cats.
Raleigh had its Jumanji moment in late June when a zebra cobra terrorized a North Raleigh neighborhood for several days before it was captured. The snake’s owner was ordered to give up his collection of 75 snakes and pay a $13,000 fine.
The news tail ended reported wolf-dog hybrids running wild in Hillsborough and a bear that climbed a tree outside a Raleigh hospital. Mother Nature, it seemed, needed to be reined in.
But the code change that was presented to council Tuesday goes too far, some councilors say. While it does ban an ark-full of beasts, such as lions, tigers, bears, and “medically significant” venomous snakes, it also prohibits residents from keeping squirrels, ducks, raccoons, opossums, and crows.
Here’s the full list:
It also seeks to ban the feeding of feral cats by individuals not associated with animal rescue or catch and release operations. Those who dare leave out a can for a whiskered roamer would face a $100 fine.
“You’ll be fining me at my house every day,” said Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “That to me goes a little too far.”
Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Stewart agreed.
“I feel like this ordinance is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and I think it needs a bit more time and lot more conversation,” Stewart said during the meeting.
Council member David Knight maintained the rule was carefully crafted with the help of wildlife experts.
“I realize that some have made light of this incident and now that the snake is captured and everyone is safe, looking I can see how this all unfolded created a sense of dread and humor at the same time, like out of a B-rated horror film,” Knight said. “But I think you thought it was funny only if you didn’t live in the neighborhood.”
Raleigh is the only city in North Carolina without an ordinance regulating the ownership of wild animals, Knight pointed out. Residents that currently possess animals named in the ordinance will have 90 days after the passage of the rule to comply before facing hefty fines.
The rule was referred to the Growth and Natural Resources Committee for further debate.
“Like it or not, Raleigh’s not a farm,” Knight said.
Read the full draft of the ordinance here.
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