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I can understand Flossie Torgerson's feeling of loss over her beloved pet Babette, but to declare that snakes should be outlawed as pets is ridiculous. It would be more logical to outlaw all dogs because of the few bad ones that attack and injure or kill people.

Snakes rarely escape from their cages, and it is even more rare that they would harm or injure anyone.

I own two small snakes, rosy boas, and they are not only my treasured pets, they are a valuable teaching tool. My snakes travel with me to camp and schools where I teach children about snakes, how to hold them, about their lives, how and what they eat, and the dangers a snake may present.

I hope Torgerson realizes that in her grief she is merely striking out in an illogical manner.

- Laura Urbanski


My heart goes out to Flossie Torgerson on the loss of her dear little friend and pet Babette. All animal lovers, and particularly we dog lovers, share her grief and horror at this merciless and unnecessary death.

I hope this is a wake-up call to not only the lawmakers to outlaw the ownership of exotic animals once and for all, but also to those who now own or are contemplating purchasing a so-called ``exotic'' pet.

There is no place in a private home for these kind of animals - they are wild animals. They may become habituated because they have a food source, but they can't be domesticated and it is cruel, heartless and selfish to keep them in such an environment.

The Wildlife Waystation and other rescue places are full of such exotic wild creatures that were purchased as ``cute'' babies but as adults had to be given up, usually in poor condition and ill.

In this particular case, it's easy to put blame on the snake as the ``bad guy,'' but he was just being a snake, doing what boas do. What, indeed, if Torgerson's little granddaughter had stepped outside? Whoever owns that snake should think long and hard about owning this reptile; keeping it means another accident waiting to happen.

- Margot Trasatti

Sherman Oaks

I applaud the fact that Angus Johnson, owner of Alissss, the 7 1/2-foot boa, came forward and is trying to do the right thing and make amends to Flossie Torgerson over the loss of Babette.

How many people would do that in this day and age? To me, that proves Johnson is a very responsible guy. Only a true animal lover would show remorse and concern, not only over the death of the Chihuahua, but for the welfare of his snake.

- Linda Simeone

Toluca Lake

I sympathize with the emotional pain visited on Babette's owner when the Chihuahua became lunch for a hungry boa constrictor. What I can't support is the notion that banning exotic pets will do anyone any good in the long haul.

Our civic leaders have bigger and much more important fish to fry, even during the dog days of August.

- Pat Parker

Los Angeles

So, ``Grieving woman wants snakes outlawed.'' Sorry, Flossie Torgerson, to paraphrase a statement by gun owners, ``When snakes are outlawed, only outlaws will have snakes.'' Let there be any kind of accident or incident and the first cry is: ``Ban it.''

There are over 1,000 boas and pythons in Los Angeles County that are not wandering around eating pets.

Why can't more people have the attitude of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers? Members of MADD don't care if you own a 20-year-old clunker and drink beer or a $50,000 high-performance car and drink fancy imported booze. All they ask is that you don't drink and drive.

Over 95 percent of all people are good people. Whether parents or pet owners, hackers or hunters, bikers or builders, most people do the right thing. Trying to regulate the many because of the actions of the few is intrusive, expensive and futile.

- Woodrow J. Hughes


I have great sympathy for Flossie Torgerson and her quest to make the neighborhoods of Los Angeles safe from exotic animals like the boa that ate her Chihuahua. I do feel, however, that this is a perfect opportunity to take the reaction one step further to encompass all dangerous animals and the rules of ownership of those animals.

Currently in L.A., just because an animal mauls another or injures multiple people, the community is not guaranteed that they will be protected from that animal. In our neighborhood, we have had to deal with a woman who has three Rottweilers who have escaped from their property to maul dogs, including almost killing an adult Doberman being walked on a leash, and people on at least four occasions.

It has taken two hearings and neighborhood pressure to just have it ruled that these animals must live outside of L.A. city limits.

We must, as a community, protect ourselves, and particularly our children, from owners that do not take appropriate measures to restrict their pets to their own property.

- Judy Kessler

Van Nuys

I truly sympathize with West Hills resident Flossie Torgerson, who lost her beloved pet Chihuahua, Babette, to a boa constrictor.

Note the fact I did not, when describing the snake, use the word ``pet.''

- Eddie Cress

Los Angeles

It is truly sad that the little Chihuahua Babette was eaten by a boa constrictor.

If one of my pets were inside a boa's mouth, I would run for a stick and not a camera, at least trying to save my pet.

Snake owners need to be more responsible to assure that their pet's environment is appropriate and not running loose in a home where another pet may become a victim.

- Marion Winkler

Sherman Oaks

My condolences to Flossie Torgerson of West Hills. However, Torgerson's petition drive to ban exotic pets such as snakes is misinformed and misguided.

Snake attacks are so rare. Why do we need to legislate against something that hardly ever happens?

If Torgerson wants to do something useful, she should circulate a petition to ban dogs. Thousands of people are bitten every year. Some dog attacks even result in people being killed.

Our neighborhoods would be safer. They would be quieter with the elimination of that constant annoyance: barking dogs. Snakes are quiet. And neighborhoods would be cleaner with the elimination of all the dog droppings that pet owners fail to clean up.

- Richard Varenchik

Santa Clarita

Responsible ownership is definitely an issue in such a case. Indeed, the snake's owner should have been more careful about confining such a large constricting snake. Boa constrictors can reach 11 feet in length, and other commonly kept constrictors such as Burmese pythons can reach upward of 27 feet. Special precautions need to be taken with such huge snakes, not only for the neighbors' sakes but for the owners'.

While most of these unusual pets are usually amiable and readily recognize their owner, just like anyone they can have a bad day.

Don't punish owners like me for the irresponsible ownership of a few.

- Josh Rhea


What is ``Babette's Law''? Choose one:

A) Stupid.

B) Unnecessary.

C) Ridiculous.

D) All of the above.

I understand that the owner of Babette wants revenge, but come on, outlawing so-called ``dangerous'' pets is ridiculous.

Now I agree that we should have strict laws and restrictions on owning snakes, or more accurately, dangerous pets, but there is no good reason to have them outlawed completely.

- Pete Way



2 Photos

Photo: (1) Flossie ``Jackie'' Torgerson holds a picture of her dog that was eaten by a boa.

(2) Mike Pro holds Alissss.

David R. Crane/Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 17, 1997

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