A national animal rights group, PETA, is offering a $2,500 reward for help in finding whoever killed the Huntington Branch Library’s pet snake, Peaches.
The Creamsicle-colored corn snake was a fixture of the library, where it was particularly popular with children. The snake endured chemical burns and kidney damage for a week before dying from injuries in mid-March after it appears someone poured the cleaning solvent Goof Off into its tank.
PETA Director Martin Mersereau said animal abusers “are cowards. They take their issues out on the most defenseless beings available to them.”
Mersereau said local residents should be concerned about the perpetrator because those who harm animals often also commit other terrible acts — including against humans.
Shawn R. Fields, Huntington Branch Library director, agreed. “Someone who would do that to one living thing might do it to another living thing,” Fields said. “So catching whoever did it would be good for humanity.”
Another organization, Darien-based Friends of Animals, has offered a $200 reward in the case.
Reward offers are ‘very nice gestures’
Fields called the organizations’ reward offers “very nice gestures” that are symbolic of a supportive and caring community.
“Hopefully, it will assist with the investigation,” Fields said.
However, he added, whether or not someone is caught won’t bring Peaches back. “And it won’t change the heartbreak it’s caused everyone, especially the kids,” Fields said.
Children continue to visit the library every day and find out the snake is no longer there, he said. One girl ran out of the library because she couldn’t comprehend that the snake wasn’t there anymore.
Another young girl offered to donate her own pet snake to the library, according to Fields.
In fact, the library has received multiple offers for donated snakes. One person even showed up at the library unsolicited with a snake to give them — which is not advisable.
Fields isn’t sure whether the library will get another snake, although some parents support the idea. “They don’t want their kids to go without that experience,” he said.
Any library pet needs to be fine for extended periods if left unattended, Fields stressed, such as during a major snowstorm.
No arrests yet in the case
Police have yet to make any arrests in connection in the library snake case. Fields has been in communication with the police. He said officers “are doing a great job” with the investigation.
The PETA reward is for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime.
PETA officials said they are offering the reward because it “might be the only way to apprehend those responsible for this heinous act.”
The Friends of Animals group, while offering a reward, appears to oppose the idea of people having snakes as pets.
“Exotic pets don’t fare well because wild animals, snakes included, are unable to have the freedom of full lives, and are too dependent on human care for their well-being and survival,” states the Friends of Animals website.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Shelton police Det. Richard Bango at 203-924-1544.