Two years ago, a venomous forest cobra escaped its enclosure in Grand Prairie, now, the man who owned it was sentenced to 15 months of community supervision.
Lawrence Matl was sentenced July 26, according to an article by The Dallas Morning News. A Dallas County jury found him guilty of the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s release from captivity code.
The code says: “A person may not intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence release or allow the release from captivity of a snake covered by this subchapter.”
Matl must pay a $998 restitution fee to the city of Grand Prairie and now he is not allowed to keep any reptiles as pets. He could be jailed for six months if he violates the terms.
The cobra escaped in August 2021 and authorities urged the community to stay alert.
“I did make a mistake and I feel very sorry for the community,” Matl said when the cobra escaped. He had a state permit to keep the snake.
Despite the efforts of authorities and professionals, the snake was never found, and no sightings have been reported since the cobra escaped.
The cobra is highly venomous but is also very shy, and it is unclear if the snake will ever turn up, but officials said the community should remain vigilant.