Pet King Cobra Escaped, Now Owner Wants to Dodge the Law
Bob McNally 02.23.17
By now many people know that Burmese pythons have invaded and taken over much of South Florida’s Everglades. Many other non-native species have been released into Florida’s wilds and thrived, such as iguanas and boa constrictors. And so it is with great fear to some folks that critters such as king cobras–yes, KING COBRAS–could one day call the Sunshine State home.
In fact, herpetologists report that Florida’s wet and steamy environment is much like that of the cobra’s native homes in Africa and Asia.
Which brings us to the case of an Orlando man who for some reason had a license to keep deadly snakes, but, gee, his pet king cobra escaped in 2015. And now, he’s got an attorney involved asking for statements he made about the incident get tossed out of court.
Michael Kennedy, a cast member of the Discovery Channel’s “Airplane Repo,” has been charged with holding wildlife in an improper manner that caused it to escape, not maintaining proper housing, and failing to report the escape.
In September 2015, searchers spent more than four weeks in the Orlando area looking for any sign of the highly venomous snake named Elvis. Eventually, the cobra was found hiding under a woman’s clothes dryer less than a half mile from where it escaped.
State officials have since revoked Kennedy’s license to keep venomous reptiles.
After reporting the escape, Kennedy allegedly told a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission official he waited more than 24 hours to report the missing snake.
In a motion filed Tuesday, defense attorneys asked a judge to exclude all statements made by the defendant to any law enforcement officer. Citing a 1976 case, the motion claims the State must independently determine a crime was committed without using an admission of guilt allegedly made by the defendant.
The motion is expected to be reviewed by a judge at a pre-trial conference.
And just why does a private citizen living in a residential area have the right to own and keep a KING COBRA as a pet?