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Owner apologizes after his snake “terrorized” the Raleigh community last summer

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – The owner of a venomous zebra cobra who was at large in Raleigh last summer made a final appearance in court Friday morning.

Chris Gifford’s snake was missing for several months before being discovered on a porch in a northwest Raleigh neighborhood last June.

He has this message: “All I can really say is that I’m just sorry for the community, what I did, I scared a lot of people.”

Gifford has not reported the snake missing.

“Huge mistake I made, sure, I know there are a lot of people who keep these animals, I hope they learn from the mistake,” he said.

In court on Friday, Gifford’s final remaining charge of failing to report a missing snake was dismissed. The other 39 charges of improper containment and mislabeled containment were dropped last summer when he reached a settlement agreement

His attorney, Anna Felts, said he followed the rules of a one-year probation and paid more than $13,000 imposed on him to cover emergency services costs.

“He did everything he could to put things right, and you know, while we’ve been talking about this, I think the community has really learned a lot about snakes and conservation, and the laws have been changed,” Felts said.

After months of debate, the Raleigh City Council passed a wildlife ban last month. People who already own banned animals, such as venomous snakes that can cause death or serious illness and injury, can keep them as long as they are registered with the city.

Gifford advises these owners to learn from him.

“If anything ever happens, you call, the call I didn’t make,” he said.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/wake-county-news/owner-apologizes-after-his-snake-terrorized-raleigh-community-last-summer/ Owner apologizes after his snake “terrorized” the Raleigh community last summer

Dais Johnston

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