Amherst, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Town of Amherst appears to have a python problem.
After two separate reports of ball pythons found and recovered at the Delta Sonic Car Wash on Niagara Falls Boulevard within a week, the Erie County SPCA has now discovered that there were three other ball pythons found in and around the car wash late last month, now prompting an investigation looking into why that is.
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"We didn't find those pythons, we received reports on the fact that there were additional pythons. From what we understand, at the end of July, a python was initially found right at the Delta Sonic location. That python was deceased. Between that time and the time that we received the two pythons, there were two additional pythons found on a walking path or a bike path near the Delta Sonic location. One of those pythons was deceased, and the other was found alive," said SPCA serving Erie County's Gina Lattuca.
The python found alive on the path was claimed by the person who found it, who is still looking for the owner or a potential new owner.
Five pythons within 30 days is a situation that has the SPCA speculating and conducting an investigation as to where these pythons came from and who is responsible.
"This situation is highly unique, highly unusual," says Latucca. "It also tells us that there is definitely something going on that we would love to know a little more about. Unless we received some kind of assistance, some kind of tip or lead, it's very difficult to further an investigation of this nature, that's why we turn to the community. Somebody has to know something about these pythons, where they came from, the person or people who may have owned them or who may have originally owned them, perhaps they were stolen."
Anyone with information call the confidential tip line for the Animal Cruelty Investigations Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.
The two pythons found at the Delta Sonic last week are still in the care of the SPCA in West Seneca, Lattuca says they are in good shape and healthy. They are still trying to locate an owner or someone with experience who is equipped to handle the reptiles.
Typically, the SPCA team waits 5 days before putting animals up for general adoption. However, the Lattuca says the SPCA is looking to potentially find an owner who has had previous experience with these reptiles. They are animals that could be worth thousands and thousands of dollars, which makes this situation even more peculiar if there was a sole owner attempting to abandon the reptiles.
"We're asking the questions everybody's probably asking: Did the snakes escaped from an enclosure? Were the snakes intentionally abandoned? How could it be that snakes were at the same location? Were they stolen from someone and intentionally placed there? I mean, there are so many different scenarios that we're considering. The snakes are not available yet for adoption. The reality of it is, because of the nature of these animals, they probably will not be available for general adoption. This would be more of a placement situation, we'd want to not only ensure that someone had the proper experience and the proper housing for an animal like this."