BEATRICE – A woman who has started an exotic pet store in downtown Beatrice wants the City of Beatrice to review its ordinance on such pets in order to not run afoul of local rules yet still allow animals that don’t pose a danger. Samantha Overman met with the Beatrice Mayor and City Council last night.
"I'm not trying to push you guys in one direction....I just want to stay here. I want to stay as a pet store, because people are like, thank you, you're here.....you're finally here, we don't have to drive an hour to get mealworms....so I'm just trying to do it, for them."
Overman was accompanied by Jacob Durflinger, of Fairbury….who has expertise about exotic pets that are bred in captivity. He says residents who live in Beatrice already have pets that would not be allowed under the city’s exotic animal ordinance. He said the business does not want to sell anything that is dangerous.
"There are a lot of people here in Beatrice that have things that you guys would not be happy with as the current law states. And, you don't know about them. I didn't know about half of them who have messaged me, or contacted me or called me....or come in the store and ask, do you have this...this is what I have. I've said I can't give you this, not even certain feeders."
City Attorney Taylor Rivera says the current local ordinance generally prohibits harboring or owning any unusual animals including exotic, wild or poisonous animals…anything not native to the U.S.
Overman said she spoke previously with city officials to make sure anything being sold in her store complies with local code.
"I looked and did my research but I was confused because there was a place in the past, that had bearded dragons and water dragons. And, a lot of people believe they've been domesticated because different breeders have bred them for a while. So, most of their DNA is used to being captive...so when they get out into the wild...they die pretty fast because they're used to being domesticated."
Overman said stores such as Earl May have sold exotic pets in the past, including reptiles. The new exotic pet store is located along the west side of 5th Street, south of Court Street. As for people who may no longer want to care for an exotic pet, Overman says the pets should be turned back to the place they were purchased, not released into the wild.