The African rock python that escaped from its enclosure and killed two young brothers while they slept was a pet kept at the apartment, police said Wednesday, contradicting earlier reports that the snake had escaped from a pet shop downstairs.
The python that escaped from its enclosure and killed two young brothers while they slept was a pet being kept at the apartment, police said Wednesday, contradicting earlier reports that the snake had escaped from a pet shop downstairs.
Noah Barthe, 4, and his brother Connor Barthe, 6, had been sleeping over at the apartment of a friend whose father owned an exotic pet store located on the floor below, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Alain Tremblay told a news conference in Campbellton.
Steve Benteau, a spokesman for the provincial Natural Resources Department, said no permit was issued for the African rock python and provincial authorities weren’t aware it was being kept at the apartment. The department said the snake is generally only permitted in accredited zoos, unless there is a special permit.
Tremblay said the snake was housed in a large glass enclosure that reached the ceiling of the apartment and escaped through a small hole in the ceiling connected to the ventilation system. He said the snake made its way through the ventilation system and moved toward the living room, where the boys were sleeping. The pipe collapsed and the snake fell.
The boys’ friend was sleeping in another room and was unharmed.
The pet store owner, Jean-Claude Savoie, told the Global News television station that he didn’t hear a sound and discovered the “horrific scene” when he went into his living room on Monday morning.
“I can’t believe this is real,” Savoie said.
He said the boys were the children of his best friend and often stayed at his apartment to visit his son. Savoie said the python, which he has had for at least 10 years, had been kept alone in its enclosure and was not handled by anyone else.
Police said the snake was killed by a veterinarian. It was sent for a necropsy to confirm the type of snake and help understand what may have caused it to attack.
Family spokesman Dave Rose, the boys’ great-uncle, said the brothers had spent Monday at Savoie’s family farm and played with different animals before staying over at the apartment. Rose thanked the community for their support and asked for privacy.
The snake was about 4.3 meters (14 feet) long, Tremblay said. He said police were looking at whether the store followed the province’s regulations on exotic animals.
“It’s a criminal investigation,” Tremblay said. “We’re going to look at all avenues.”
The RCMP’s Major Crime Unit is continuing the investigation, with the assistance of a reptile expert from the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton, New Brunswick.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-08-07