Middletown Township Animal Control removed a dead python from a house on George Street, in the township's River Plaza section, on Thursday.
The incident is currently under investigation by MCSPCA Chief Buddy Amato. He said the pet snake was housed in a wooden crate outfitted with a heat lamp. But the gas and electric have been shut off, and the very cold temperatures in recent days likely killed the reptile, Amato said. Pythons are accustomed to a tropical climate, he explained.
Amato has the names of two young men — "persons of interest," he said — who were recently living in the house. The mother of one of them was contacted by the MCSPCA. She said the snake belonged to her son, Amato said.
Investigators are looking for a dog and cat that were also known to have lived in the house, but not found inside.
Animal Control Officer Marcello Aguirre delivered the dead python in a black plastic bag to the MCSPCA in Eatontown, where it will be examined. He estimated it to be about 4 four feet long and two pounds, but could not identify the species.
The reptile was discovered after a neighbor who noticed the front door was ajar for some time, and telephoned police with concern. The police arrived to do a well-being check, and found the snake. MCSPCA officer Kerry Gawan responded.
Failure to provide proper shelter to an animal is a disorderly persons offense.
The house is located in a neighborhood off West Front Street, on the border of Red Bank.