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California Cops Found Dozens of Snakes and Gators in a Suburban Backyard

There were enough dangerous reptiles at Todd Kates's Thousand Oaks home to fill a 'Jungle 2 Jungle' reboot.
July 7, 2017, 3:41pm
Snake photo via Flickr user marco mazzone

On Thursday, California animal control uncovered a massive illegal zoo of poisonous snakes, alligators, and other reptiles in a Thousand Oaks backyard, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Animal control investigators discovered the suburban reptile kingdom after they looked into reports of a cobra terrorizing the upscale neighborhood outside of LA. Back in 2014, a separate venomous cobra escaped from Todd Kates's Thousand Oaks home and sank its fangs into a neighbor's dog, so officers figured they should check in on Kates again.

When they did, they stumbled across enough exotic reptiles to fill a Jungle 2 Jungle reboot.

According to officials, Kates had more than 80 snakes—including king cobras and rattlesnakes—and a backyard pool full of alligators, along with some birds and tortoises to round out the collection. Kates had a permit to legally own some of the animals, but they were supposed to be kept off-site at a separate facility that isn't his backyard, and there weren't supposed to be so goddamn many of them.

"It appears that, despite the multiple levels of permits, approvals, and periodic inspections required," Animal Control said in a statement following the bust, "the permit holder was housing deadly venomous snakes in an unauthorized, densely populated, residential neighborhood, and in such a manner that they posed a substantial risk to public safety."

The state of California frowns on people filling their suburban backyard with potentially deadly reptilian beasts, especially when some of them escape and spook the neighbors. Kates, 55, was arrested Thursday on 16 counts of animal cruelty.