‘Threat Level to Zero’: Toy Snake Prompts Animal Control Response in Riverside County

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A toy snake prompted an animal services response in Riverside on Aug. 10, 2019. (Credit: Adam Haisten Riverside County Animal Services)

A toy snake prompted an animal services response in Riverside on Aug. 10, 2019. (Credit: Adam Haisten Riverside County Animal Services)

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From a distance, it looked like a cobra in a menacing stance.

That’s why a woman in Riverside County called animal services over the weekend. She thought she had spotted a large snake on a neighbor’s front lawn.

When an officer arrived to the home in the 17600 block of Log Hill Drive in the Woodcrest area south of the city Riverside, however, he quickly realized “there was no cause for alarm.”

“Although rather realistic at a distance, up close the blank expression and rubber teeth pretty much lowered the threat level to zero,” Riverside County Animal Services Officer Adam Haisten said in a news release Monday. “I couldn’t help but start laughing.”

Haisten then contacted the woman, who was embarrassed and amused.

“She also was apologizing profusely. I am pretty sure I heard her husband in the background laughing hysterically,” the officer said.

The officer assured the caller that she didn’t have to be embarrassed.

“I told her it was better to be safe rather than be sorry,” Haisten said.

Animal Services officials assured residents of Riverside that cobras are not native to California, but that the exotic animals are often smuggled into the United States illegally.

Haisten said he left his card on the “snake owner’s” home that read, “We came by for the snake in the front yard.”

It is unclear how the toy snake ended up in the yard.

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