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Anonymous donor helps python owner get his snake back

TARPON SPRINGS — Cleo the python is back with her owner at the Tarpon Springs Aquarium.

Aquarium owner Scott Konger said an anonymous donor stepped up and gave him $250 toward trapper Vernon Yates' fees.

"I was surprised," Konger said. "It makes you feel better about the world."

Konger and Yates had a dispute over how much money Yates should get to return Cleo.

Konger ended up paying Yates the full $350 he demanded. But he didn't want to shell out more than $300 and he thought that was too much.

Yates said that $350 was a deal, that he should have charged Konger $550 to pick up the snake, have her scanned for an ID chip and to board her.

Konger reported the 14.5 foot African rock python missing about two years ago, and last week the snake ended up near an apartment complex by the Anclote River.

Konger said he was happy to have Cleo back, but he wasn't crazy about forking over so much money for her.

"I still hate to give the guy $350 to get my animal back," Konger said.

Konger was worried Cleo might have been hurt when she was wrangled by three Tarpon Springs police officers last week. But so far, he just noticed a little tear near Cleo's mouth.

"She's a little banged up, but I think she'll be okay," Konger said.

Anonymous donor helps python owner get his snake back 02/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 2:17pm]
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