COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A video posted on a local child care center’s website of kids playing with an alligator and a python has started an investigation into Captive Born Reptiles.
The ODA says the undocumented animals were brought to the daycare illegally.
According to a search warrant, ODA received a complaint of an alligator and a 12 foot constrictor snake being handled by children.
Terry Wilkins, the owner of the reptiles and Captive Born Reptiles is known showing off his animals to local schools. Last Tuesday, the department of agriculture seized six large pythons out of Wilkins pet store on Morse Road and five snakes from Wilkins home in Pickerington.
Authorities believe Wilkins took the reptiles out of state to his pet store Newport, Kentucky.
A TV station in Cincinnati caught up Wilkins in Newport. Wilkins claims the agents intentionally left 12 snakes in the recent freezing cold during the search warrant, resulting in their deaths, so he could not get a permit for the snakes.
As for the alligators, he says they were taken out of state “for their own safety.”
Wilkins will face a misdemeanor charge for each animal he has not registered.