Cruelty charge in dead snake case

2008-02-26 00:00

A dead python, an angry wife and an estranged husband claiming that his pet snake was killed for revenge are the core of an animal cruelty investigation at Palm Beach.

Police said a charge of animal cruelty has been laid against Lourensa Odendaal, who stabbed a five-metre Burmese python 10 times and cut off its tail in January.

Odendaal claimed she acted in self defence when the snake attacked her, biting her arm and then wrapping itself around her.

She said she is consulting her lawyer, claiming the allegations are part of an ugly divorce battle.

Her estranged husband Ian has told local newspapers that Odendaal butchered the giant python to get back at him when he refused to take her calls.

Neighbours told The Witness that Odendaal has previously assaulted Ian and two policemen.

Others said Ian is not prepared to take responsibility for ill treating the python, by not feeding it for long periods and keeping it in a tiny cage.

Snake expert Terence Whittle, from Pure Venom Snake Park, said the charges hinge on the alleged snakebite on Lourensa’s arm, which was a gaping hole. A snakebite would actually have appeared as a horseshoe-shaped row of deep lacerations.

The python died shortly after the incident as a result of extreme stress and its injuries. An autopsy showed 10 bad stab wounds (in some cases the knife blade had gone right through the snake) and four minor wounds.

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