— California pet store owners are fighting to keep their pet snakes and turtles out of their stores after a lawsuit claiming that the animals are pests.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, is one of a handful of legal challenges to pet stores nationwide.
California has banned the sale of all snakes and all turtles.
“They are dangerous and can cause a great deal of harm,” said attorney David Fitch of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which is representing the owners of Petco, Petco Pet Supply and Petco Pets.
Pets are allowed to be in the store but must be confined inside a cage or enclosure, Fitch said.
A Petco spokeswoman said that all reptiles and birds are welcome at Petco but that pets must be restrained and supervised.
In a statement, PetCo said it has removed the snakes and turtle from its store and that the company will take legal action to stop them from coming back.
Fitch said he’s confident the lawsuit will succeed.
He said Petco is trying to stop pet stores from selling snake and turtle parts and products that are not safe for children and pets.
Petco has removed pet snakes from stores in California and Ohio and is suing other pet stores, FITCH said.