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Locals object to commercial reptile sales in residential area
Request will be up for consideration at July 28 work session
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If a few residents of Clarkesville have their way, some of the city's cold-blooded residents may not be welcome within Clarkesville limits.

At the Clarkesville City Council meeting Monday, members heard from a resident who objected to a neighbor operating a commercial reptile business out of his home.

Clarkesville resident Ricky Alexander runs a commercial reptile business from his garage, where he sells lizards, snakes and rodents to local and online dealers, City Clerk Elizabeth Kemp said.

Lores Hauck, who lives across the street from Alexander, said she was bothered by the smell coming from the reptile and rodent enclosures on Alexander's property.

Hauck's concerns have been brewing for some time, Kemp said.

"It started several months ago with Ms. Hauck complaining about the odor coming from the house," she said.

At the meeting Hauck asked that the council amend its ordinances to prohibit commercial reptile raising within the city. A few other residents also attended the meeting in opposition but did not formally raise a complaint to the council.

Another neighbor mentioned she noticed the odor when she went to her mailbox, City Manager Barbara Kesler said.

Kemp and Kesler visited Alexander's home and could not smell an odor from outside. At the meeting, Kesler offered to return to the neighborhood if the smell became evident.

Kesler said the rodent enclosure had a sawdust smell, but there was no other odor and the enclosure seemed pristine and secure.

"It was very clean. There were no droppings. Obviously, none of the animals could escape. So at the day that we went and the time that we went I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary or extraordinary at all."

Alexander's business in Clarkesville is not a retail trade, meaning reptiles can't be bought directly at the home, Kemp added.

In an interview Thursday, Hauck said she was disturbed by the idea of the reptiles, including snakes and lizards, escaping their enclosures.

"Accidents happen. Where the snakes live, there are also rats that they feed the snakes. And we're human, anything can happen," Hauck said.

She said the best-case scenario would be for Alexander to move his business outside the city.

"I think they should find a place outside the city limits in the country, get a trailer and develop a business there," Hauck said.

City council members heard Hauck's request but did not make a motion on it. The request will be up for consideration at the city's July 28 work session.

Alexander could not be reached.


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