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Mathews explores exotic animal ordinance

Mathews County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Bowen, acting pro bono in lieu of the county attorney, gave county supervisors a first look at a proposed exotic animal ordinance during the Aug. 28 board meeting.

Bowen explained that he had tried several cases in court in which exotic pets were an issue and that he felt that an ordinance governing exotic pet ownership would be a public safety ordinance. He said that there had been an incident in which a man threatened to throw a snake at a deputy and one in which someone had taken a boa constrictor to the beach and had let it go to slither down the beach, frightening beachgoers.

“I would like to know I’m protected against that person,” Bowen said, “and that my children and grandchildren are not subject to their lack of judgment.”

With a wide range of exotic animals, from poisonous snakes to hybrid domestic/wild cats, Bowen said he had many concerns and that no single ordinance could cover everything. He...

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