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Hartselle police Sgt. James Holladay, left, and Lt. Robert Finn with an 11-foot python they caught.
Daily photo by Deangelo McDaniel
Hartselle police Sgt. James Holladay, left, and Lt. Robert Finn with an 11-foot python they caught.

Huge-snake handlers
Hartselle police officers
catch 11-foot python

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com? 340-2469

HARTSELLE — It's not every day that Hartselle Police Department is inundated with calls about huge snakes.

Then there was Tuesday.

"I thought it would be just a routine call about another snake," Sgt. James Holladay said.

To the contrary.

When Holladay arrived at Nance Ford Road near New Covenant Church he spotted something he described as "huge."

It turned out to be an 11-foot python.

With the assistance of a passerby, Holladay, and Lt. Robert Finn captured the snake and turned it over to animal control officer Regina Jenkins.

"We had a report that somebody ran over the snake, but I couldn't find any injuries," Holladay said.

"There was a little blood on his nose," Finn added.

Holladay, who with former officer Jenny Denton captured an albino python about eight years ago, said he grabbed the snake behind the head and picked it up as Finn and the motorist held its body.

Holladay said he wasn't afraid.

"It wasn't that difficult," he said. "I knew it wasn't a poisonous snake."

It took about 15 minutes for them to subdue the snake.

Now, the Police Department is faced with the challenge of finding the snake's owner.

That may be difficult because more than 10 years ago, Hartselle responded to the same area when a homeowner lost a two-foot python.

"I think somebody spotted that snake on their back porch," Court Clerk Magistrate Stan Holt said.

Holt was a dispatcher at the time.

Hartselle Human Resource Administrator Melee Haney said her mother thought about buying a home in the area on Nance Ford Road, but did not because she heard about the two-foot python being missing.

"The real estate agent told her that the former homeowner had a python to come up missing and they never found it," Haney said.

Pythons range in size from three to 20 feet in length and are among the longest species of snakes in the world. They are constrictors, and feed on birds and mammals by squeezing them to death.

Police Chief Ron Puckett said the city will keep the snake until Hartselle finds the owner or someone to adopt the animal.

City Clerk Rita Lee said Hartselle, like most municipalities, does not have an ordinance that bans exotic animals.

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