Exotic Animal Owners Must Notify Neighbors

The Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday that calls for owners of exotic animals to inform their next-door neighbors about pets such as boa constrictors and for pet shop owners to notify customers that such animals must be registered with the city's Department of Animal Regulation.

The ordinance, introduced by Councilman Hal Bernson, was spurred by two highly publicized snake attacks last year, including one in which West Hills resident Jackie Torgerson witnessed her pet Chihuahua being devoured by a 7 1/2-foot-long boa constrictor that escaped from its owner's home.

Torgerson, 76, applauded the new law and was especially pleased about the neighbor notification requirement, she said. "I would have been checking my yard regularly," Torgerson said.

Ali Sar, a spokesman for Bernson, said a previous draft of the new ordinance, recommended to the City Council by the Animal Regulation Commission last week, lacked the stipulation that exotic pet owners tell their immediate neighbors about exotic pets. The council added the measure before approving the bill, Sar said.

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