Who Would Be Responsible If The Orlando King Cobra Hurt Someone?

September 14, 2015

There are many dangers lurking behind trees and under rocks in the wilderness of Orlando, Florida, but none more terrifying and deadly than the king cobra slithering through the grass. “There aren’t any king cobras in Orlando” you hesitantly whisper under your breath. However, no amount of self-assurance can change the fact that Jafar isn’t the only cobra in Disneyworld right now.

By now, you will probably have heard about the eight-foot-long green and yellow king cobra that escaped from its confinement more than a week ago. Snake experts and handlers from around the area have stated that the likelihood of the cobra biting a human is very low, but do warn that pets may be in danger.

What If The Snake Bit Someone?

Just because experts have said that the chances are “extremely remote,” that does not mean that it could not happen. So what if the Orlando king cobra ventured into your backyard, was waiting under your car, or found its way into a school playground? What if this animal felt threatened or surprised and lashed out at you, your pets, or your children? Who would be responsible?

Florida law allows individuals to own venomous snakes if they obtain a state permit. There are nearly 300 people in the entire state that have one of these permits; the owner of the escaped cobra is one of them. However, even though he was legally allowed to own the snake, he was still fined for having waited 24 hours before warning the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC).

The FFWCC requires that owners of dangerous animals report any escapes as soon as they are aware of it. This is not the owner’s first citation for disobeying regulations. In 2001 he was cited for failing to provide adequate housing for another escaped king cobra that was eventually killed by a man who found it in his garage.

Owners of exotic pets are almost always held to strict liability laws. For introducing a very dangerous animal to an area that it doesn’t really belong in, the owner will almost assuredly be held fully accountable for any damages to person or property that it causes. This may include medical bills for snake bites, compensation for lost pets, pain and suffering, and more.

The FFWCC work hard to keep the public safe and ask that you see this or any other snake, please do not approach or attempt to capture the animal on your own, and instead call them at 1-888-302-9005.

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