This past weekend marked the arrival of the Year of the Snake. According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, this sign symbolizes traits such as gracefulness and intelligence. People who are born under the Year of the Snake are “deep thinker” individuals who can expect good fortune in relationships and will personally or professionally shine in 2013. Unfortunately for actual snakes, their outlook doesn’t look as promising.

A few months ago, a Brazilian man was caught trying to smuggle 27 snakes wrapped in nylon and stashed inside stereo speakers, checked as luggage, at Orlando International Airport. He allegedly admitted that he planned to breed them for the pet trade. A few months before that, a baby in Illinois was found with a python — believed to be a neighbor’s escaped pet — biting and contracting around his foot as he slept in his crib. According to reptile specialist Clifford Warwick, “In my experience with human and animal health, as well as wider issues of ecology, species conservation and even economics, harm is inherent and almost universal in exotic pet keeping. What is abnormal, derided and a prosecutable abuse of a dog, such as keeping him or her almost constantly locked up in a small kennel, is normal ‘care’ for an exotic pet, whose life will almost certainly be spent in a wooden and glass box, wire cage or aquarium.” A recent scientific analysis conducted in the U.K. shows that three-quarters of all pet reptiles die in their first year in the home — and that excludes the heavy trade-related losses that are known to be around 70 percent within just six weeks.

Aside from snakes being kept as pets, snakes have to endure cruelty just so that fashion industries can make accessories. According to PETA campaign manager Janna Sevilla, “Snakes are skinned alive, and they are dumped with boiling water so their skins and organs separate.” Sevilla stated that millions of snakes, lizards, alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles are violently killed every year to make wallets, belts, boots, and handbags.

If all that weren’t enough, there’s also “rattlesnake roundups” that occur every year in many states where thousands of rattlesnakes are captured, abused, and killed for entertainment. Roundups began as snake control for farmers, but have evolved into tasteless public spectacles. According to the Humane Society for the United States, collectors from Texas to Pennsylvania pull rattlesnakes from their dens using poles tipped with fishhooks or spray gasoline or other toxins into the dens, poisoning local endangered and threatened wildlife. The snakes are then carted to roundups without food or water in dirty, cramped conditions, snakes arrive starved, dehydrated, or crushed. The survivors are used in exhibitions and daredevil acts, and some are decapitated and served up as exotic meat.

Help celebrate the Year of the Snake by vowing to be kinder to these misunderstood reptiles.

Wild animals, such as snakes, do not thrive and more often than not, die prematurely in captivity. Keep them where they belong – in the wild.

Don’t buy any accessories made from snakeskin. Instead, choose cruelty-free materials such as fake snake, mock croc, and pleather

Rattlesnake roundups are bad for snakes, the environment, and people. If you find out that there is a rattlesnake roundup in your area, get a petition going to have the roundup banned. For more information, visit the Rattlesnake Roundup petition

By the way, you may be interested to know that the Chinese Zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle and is represented by 12 different animals: the mouse, buffalo, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. According to their calendar, it is year 4711.

Adoptable Pet of the Week


Camino is a very loving domestic short haired male kitty who is looking for a permanent home. Stop by and visit him today! The following is included in the adoption fee at ASAP: spay or neuter surgery, flea treatment, vaccinations, microchipping, health evaluation, including testing for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Cats thought to be 10 years or older receive a full blood panel evaluation, thus assuring that the cat is indeed healthy and adoptable, Medical and drug coverage through ASAP’s vet for two weeks beyond adoption, if necessary, Temperament evaluation and Cat Carrier (you can save the County money by bringing your own).

Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) is a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization that takes care of the cats and kittens at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. ASAP provides humane care for these animals and works to eliminate the practice of euthanizing them for reasons other than serious health or behavior problems.

Visit ASAP at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd. Adoption hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit or call (805) 683-3368


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