RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An ordinance that would fine people in Raleigh for having a wild or dangerous animal is moving forward for further discussion.
It comes after a venomous zebra cobra snake was captured in June in North Raleigh. That incident made city leaders want to find a way to keep it from ever happening again, but some council members said the first draft of the ordinance goes too far.
There are currently no restrictions on venomous snakes or any other exotic animal within city limits.
“I realize some have made light of this incident and now that the snake is captured and everyone is safe, looking back I can see how this all unfolded, this created a bit of dread and humor at the same time,” said Councilmember David Knight.
Knight said the incident highlighted how Raleigh doesn’t regulate wild animals.
“Like it or not, Raleigh is not a farm,” said Knight.
He looked at how other ordinances are written in the state and presented a draft for Raleigh on Tuesday.
It would fine people $500 per day per animal for housing a wild or dangerous animal and $100 per day for feeding one.
Councilors said the writing is too broad by including any non-domesticated animal.
“We’re talking about not keeping ducks in our backyard. We’re talking about not feeding geese and deer,” said council member Nicole Stewart. “I feel like this ordinance is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said because of how broadly defined the wild and dangerous animals are, she would be fined for feeding a feral cat at her home.
“I have my favorite feral cat. He is like one of the family,” said Baldwin.
Animal advocates said the ban would affect a lot of harmless pets and animals in protection — also saying it’s an unnecessary move after one incident.
“I feel the catastrophic results will be terrible, I will feel it as well as many other sanctuaries will feel it,” said one person.
Council decided to send the ordinance to a committee for further discussion and review.
“We definitely have to have more extensive conversation and probably have something a little more narrowly tailored to address this concern,” said council member Stormie Forte.