The RSPCA is appealing for information after a callous owner unloaded their Royal python and vivarium outside a betting shop and drove away leaving the snake stranded on the roadside.

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The incident happened at about 5:30pm on Sunday 31 May outside Ladbrokes on Gloucester Street in Oxford. The owner is believed to have unloaded the snake in its tank with some bedding and other equipment outside the shop and then driven off without returning.

RSPCA inspector Andy Eddy who is investigating the case said: “This was a terribly callous act. Pythons and other exotic pets need a lot of specialist equipment, care and attention to stay healthy and the owner would have known that dumping this poor snake on the roadside could well have been a death sentence for their pet. Reptiles cannot regulate their own body temperature and require a carefully-controlled temperature to be able to function normally. Luckily we came to the animal’s rescue just in the nick of time.

“We would like to hear from anyone who may know a bit more about the owner of this snake and what may have happened here in Gloucester Street.

“We have reason to believe that the owner of the snake may drive a silver Ford S-Max and are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen what happened that afternoon or who may know someone of this description that is now missing a Royal python like this one that has been dumped.

“It is against the law to abandon any animal in this manner and the RSPCA takes incidents like this very seriously. Those found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering or failing to meet the needs of an animal could face up to a £20,000 fine or up to six months in prison.”