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Lakeland Man Upset That Officials Took His Pythons

LAKELAND, Fla. - The owner of two pythons seized by state officials for allegedly failing to have the proper permit is not happy that he's lost his snakes.

For more than a decade, Michael Hall has been raising two Burmese pythons. His 17-foot long female he named Zena and the 11-foot long male he named Bivit.

"I'm one of those people that likes snakes. I've liked them since I was a little kid," Hall said.

Hall says he purchased both snakes at a pet store, but Thursday officials with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission came and seized the pythons.

"It's messed up. I've had them for 15 years. I've had them since they were a baby."

Officials say they received an anonymous tip about Hall's snakes and took them because he failed to have the required state permit.

"It is not illegal to have these snakes as long as you abide by the state law requiring a permit and the conditions of the permit," said FWC spokesperson Gary Morse.

Hall admits he didn't have a permit and didn't have the pythons microchipped either. But the 37-year old says he didn't think he needed because he bought the snakes before the state passed those requirements.

Hall says he's been told he can't have his snakes back and officials say the reptiles have been taken to a licensed facility.

"It's just not right," Hall said.

Hall has been charge with two second-degree misdemeanors and been given a warning for not having the snakes microchipped. He's scheduled to appear in court later this month.

Earlier this year, a 2-year-old Sumter County girl died after her mother's pet snake got out and strangled the child. The girl's death also renewed calls to ban pythons in Florida.

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