Two albino Burmese pythons survived two months of being kept inside a filthy a 20-gallon aquarium in a Lower Windsor Township shed with no food, no heat and no light, according to the rescuer who is nursing them back to health.
"They were living in filth," said Ame Kessler, a Humane Society police officer who runs Aglyphic Creatures Rescue.
Their former owner, Rodney W. Steely, is facing four summary citations of animal cruelty.
"He left them there to die, as far as I'm concerned," Kessler said. "He didn't ask anyone to care for them or feed them. He just abandoned them."
The 14-foot female and 9-foot male are thin and covered in blood-sucking mites, she said.
The female is suffering from scale rot, mouth rot and abrasions on her nose and face from rubbing them raw against an aquarium screen.
"It's not pretty," Kessler said.
Tipster: She said she received an anonymous tip on Aug. 8 that the snakes were abandoned in a shed and needed help. The shed is at the home of Steely's grandmother on Gilbert Lane.
At that point, both snakes were crammed inside one 20-gallon tank, Kessler said.
Kessler left a list for Steely of what needed to be done to properly care for the snakes, and a family member reported he gave that list to Steely, Kessler said.
But Steely didn't call her and never took action to improve the lives of the snakes, she said, although a family member obtained a second 20-gallon aquarium and separated the reptiles.
During this time period, there were several
nights when temperatures got down to the 50s. Burmese pythons are indigenous to Southeast Asia and can't handle cool temperatures, Kessler said.
'He did nothing': "I gave him plenty of opportunity. He did nothing," she said of Steely. "The animals needed to be removed."
Because they'd been abandoned on the grandmother's property, she was able to sign over ownership of them, according to Kessler, who took the snakes on Tuesday.
They remain in quarantine for now, she said.
"They are underweight," Kessler said. "The female weighs about 40 pounds. She should be twice the (girth) of what she is and probably weigh 60 or 70 pounds."
But Kessler predicts the snakes will fully recover and said they will be available for adoption.
"Trying to find a home for a 14-foot albino Burmese python is not an easy task," she said. "Both have nice temperaments. ... They're beautiful snakes."
$3K fine? Kessler said she's asking that Steely receive the maximum fine of $3,000 -- $750 for each citation.
She's also asking District Judge John H. Fishel to prohibit Steely from owing pets in the future and order him to reimburse her for care costs.
She filed Steely's citations Thursday. Two are for abandoning the snakes and two are for other cruelty infractions, she said, including lack of food and water, unsanitary conditions and lack of veterinary care.
Steely, 29, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Wanted man: York County court records reveal Steely has a warrant for his arrest on a pending DUI case.
A bench warrant was issued for him July 26 after he failed to appear for his formal court arraignment, records state.
He sometimes stays at his grandmother's home and is known to frequent West York and York City's Fireside neighborhood, Kessler said.
Anyone with information on Steely's whereabouts can call 911.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.