Police seize drugs, snakes and lizard from Zelzate house

Police seize drugs, snakes and lizard from Zelzate house
Tiger python

Police and animal welfare officials seized illegal drugs, snakes and a lizard from a house in the East Flanders town Zelzate.

When police searched the house late last week, they found a bearded dragon lizard lounging in the living and sleeping area. In addition, several terrariums contained two reticulated pythons, two boa constrictors, a royal python and two tiger pythons, according to a statement from the police station in Puyenbroeck.

Officers from the Flanders Animal Welfare Division, assisting with the raid, reported the reptiles were in poor condition. The house residents did not have valid documents for possessing the animals.

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Police started monitoring the comings and goings at the Zelzate house in September, shortly after a 4-meter-long yellow python was found dead in the nearby Ghent-Terneuzen Canal. The python is native to southeast Asia, and police suspected it came from the nearby house, according to the police statement.

A 31-year-old female, registered as a home resident, granted police access to the property on January 27. Police spotted the reptiles upon entering and found a 32-year-old man hiding in the attic with an unspecified quantity of illegal drugs.

The man and woman were brought before the investigating judge in Ghent on January 28. The woman was released, but the man remains in custody, the police said. The man is suspected to be the owner of the reptiles and police allege he is selling the drugs.

The confiscated animals were brought to a nearby rescue centre and are receiving proper care, according to the police statement.

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