PRINCETON – Rocky the boa constrictor escaped Sept. 3 and after a frantic week spent looking for it everywhere, a neighbor found the snake Sept. 10, and it’s been reunited with its owner.
Residents on the north end of Princeton were watching where they walked while the snake was on the loose.
Princeton Police were notified at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5 that the 5-foot boa constrictor named Rocky was missing, according to Princeton Police Chief Todd Frederick.
“The information we received is that the owner brought the snake outside, and it got away,” Frederick said.
The snake belongs to Ammy Sweeney, who lives on the north end of town with her mother.
Sweeney told authorities she and her mother had the snake for about 12 years.
Frederick said Sweeney expressed to authorities that she was very embarrassed by the situation involving her pet.
News of Rocky’s disappearance attracted thousands of views on Facebook. The Mille Lacs County Animal Control posted on Facebook that the odds of the snake surviving the recent spell of low temperatures in the 40s is not very good. The snake was feared to be dead.
Frederick said the recent cool temperatures are unfortunate when it comes to Rocky’s fate. Frederick said in conversations with the snake’s owner, concerns were also raised about the cool evenings.
“If it were able to maintain a temperature of 75-80 degrees on a consistent basis, there might be a chance it could survive,” Frederick said.
The probable fate of Rocky did not deter law enforcement officials from searching for the snake, however.
Officers have knocked on doors talking to people as the search for Rocky ensued. Officers teamed with staff from the public works department to pull up manhole covers and search sewers. Ammy Sweeney has also been on a ambitious search for her snake, too.
Sweeney offered a $200 reward to anyone who found the snake. Still, there was no sight of Rocky.
Frederick said the keeping of boa constrictors is not allowed in the city.
“It’s illegal to have them,” he said.
The police department has also spent valuable hours on following false leads brought about by rumor-mongers on Facebook.
“There have been people making claims that the snake had been found,” Frederick said.
That wasn’t the case, and chasing down leads from people on Facebook took police away from their regular work.
“This incident has been difficult, because we’ve had to use our resources to further investigate these claims,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate. Maybe that’s part of the reason we don’t allow them in the city limits,” Frederick said of the large snake.
Frederick doesn’t know if there will be any legal ramifications for the snake’s owner. He had said the first priority would be to find the snake.
The chief said the police department is likely to forward a report to the city attorney for review, Frederick said.