OHIO -- A video posted on a Ohio child care center’s website of kids playing with an alligator and a python has started an investigation into Captive Born Reptiles.
The ODA says the undocumented animals were brought to the daycare illegally.
According to a search warrant, ODA received a complaint of an alligator and a 12-foot constrictor snake being handled by children.
Terry Wilkins, the owner of the reptiles and Captive Born Reptiles, is known showing off his animals to local schools.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture took five rattlesnakes from Terry Wilkins’ home in the 300 block of Leaning Fence Court in Pickerington.
Six constrictors more than 12 feet in length were taken from Captive Born Reptiles on Morse Road.
In Ohio, snakes longer than 12 feet require a permit. Venomous snakes also require a permit. The state requires owners to show the animals are cared for, hold adequate liability insurance for venomous snakes and provide an action plan if the snake escapes.
Mark Bruce, communications director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said the seized snakes were not in good health. He said the agency is working with reptile experts at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to provide care for the snakes, which were not kept at an adequate temperature and suffered from skin issues, including mites, officials said.
The snakes are being housed at a temporary facility in Reynoldsburg. If Wilkins does not get the snakes back after a hearing, they will be sent to a reptile sanctuary.
Authorities believe Wilkins took additional reptiles out of state to his pet store Newport, Kentucky.
A TV station in Cincinnati caught up Wilkins in Newport.
Wilkins claims the agents intentionally left 12 snakes in the recent freezing cold during the search warrant, resulting in their deaths, so he could not get a permit for the snakes.
As for the alligators, he says they were taken out of state “for their own safety.”
Wilkins will face a misdemeanor charge for each animal he has not registered.
TERRY WILKINS' FAMILY'S VERSION OF EVENTS
Keiko Wilkins at Captive Born Reptiles posted on Facebook January 25, 2017
Sorry for the delayed post but here is the video of the Captive Born Reptiles raid that occurred on January 17, 2017. Terry will be making a follow-up video to explain how the situation stands currently. I would like to restate that the Capital Area Humane Society, Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Fairfield County Humane Society have had over thirty people through the my family home and reptile store (Captive Born Reptiles). With over 500 animals within both of these locations, not one single citation has been given out for a sick animal, inhumane treatment of an animal or unsanitary conditions. Those thirty people including four vets spent over seventeen hours going through our property. One of the ODA’s vets, Dennis Summers did steal two anacondas from CBR. He is currently under investigation by the state inspector general.
(WNCN - January 27, 2017)