Out Of Bounds: Fort Wayne Ordinance Says 'No' To List Of Exotic Animals

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 6, 2013 Updated Sep 6, 2013 at 5:40 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21 Alive) ----Lions, tigers and bears, no way!

Fort Wayne has been preparing to host an exotic animal exhibition, but some animals won’t be on display.

That's because a long list of exotic pets is off limits inside city limits.

Those intrigued by unusual snakes and insects are a natural fit for the Hoosier Reptile Expo, planned for September 7th at the Memorial Coliseum.

Seeing the creatures in a controlled environment is better than coming across one in your backyard.

People in Noblesville have been on edge since Labor Day, with the news that an 8-foot long boa constrictor escaped from its owner and has been on the loose.

Workers at Fort Wayne's Animal Control Shelter periodically get called out to round up things like pythons, alligators, or dangerous spiders, many times ones discovered in police raids.

Randy Thornton has special gloves and tools like snake tongs to make the job easier.

There was the time when he showed up at a domestic battery scene, and a police officer pointed to a pile of clothes laying in the yard.

" And the cop was like you're going to have to get that, cause I ain't going near it, and I was thinking, well, it's got to be something really crazy. He's got a gun, I don't. So, I got one of my tools, and I moved this towel around and this spider, I'm not exaggerating, was 8 inches around. I've never seen a tarantula that big," said Thornton, who is with the enforcement division of animal control.

You might not realize Fort Wayne's city ordinance makes it illegal to shelter or harbor a number of wild or dangerous exotic animals that are not indigenous to the state of Indiana.

On the list: bears, wolves, lions, tigers, alligators, and venomous snakes.

If animal control catches you with one in your possession, the animals are subject to seizure at the owner’s expense.

And if they get loose, the costs go up.

" So, if it got out of its cage and made it into the neighbor's yard, that would be a problem and we would be able to use enforcement to, you know, take that matter under control," Thornton said.

The reptile expo will have pythons, boas, geckos and hedgehogs for sale, but again, there will be no creatures that are outlawed under the Fort Wayne ordinance.

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