A South Australian pet shop owner has been convicted of animal cruelty after snakes in his care were found to be in poor health.

The charge related to two Moriela Jungle Jag pythons and an Albino Carpet Python, which the 66-year-old man had failed to provide with appropriate heating lights and living conditions. The snakes were seized by RSPCA inspectors in September 2019.

The Albino Carpet Python was suffering with respiratory disease, hypothermia, and mites, but recovered with treatment, while the two Moriela Jungle Jag pythons had to be euthanised.

The enclosures housing the reptiles appeared to have UV light and purple heat lights. However, temperatures recorded inside the enclosures were within the range of 17.2 to 24.1 degrees Celsius. The recommended temperature for reptile enclosures is between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius.

Prior to leaving the property, the defendant and his wife were issued seven Animal Welfare Notices by Inspectors requiring specific improvements to living conditions within a certain timeframe.

The defendant’s records showed that since 1 January 2019, 36 of 100 reptiles purchased or gifted had died.

At the Elizabeth Magistrates Court, Magistrate Christopher Smolicz said that this was not trivial offending, and that cruelty and mistreatment of animals is all too prevalent in our community, with the offending being hard to detect.

His Honour further stated that the community’s expectation was that animals had to be treated well and that pets cannot look after themselves or speak for themselves when there is an issue, so they are totally reliant on humans to do the right thing.

The defendant stated that he was in the process of winding up the sale of snakes and that the store is down to its last eight, and he will not be seeking to renew his permit to keep exotic animals.

He was convicted and received a 12-month, $500 Good Behaviour Bond.

To stay up to date on the latest industry headlines, sign up to the Pet Industry News e-newsletter.