It seems that everyone is railing against these parents (and owning snakes in general), so I’m inclined to play devil’s advocate. Just for some perspective, I used to work at a zoo:
We should start off knowing that any pet has the potential to be dangerous, whether it’s a snake, a hamster, a cat, or a dog…
I seriously can’t stand people who take animals out of their natural habitat! It’s like playing God! Have they not heard of cats and dogs?
Cats and dogs are now domesticated, but they weren’t always that way.
The Florida Everglades are loaded with them. These snakes have no adverseries. They climb trees. I’m sure there are many, many others in the wild throughout the US. People get tired of them, they get too big, and they release them. What a surprise when you are out in the wild totally unsuspecting of meeting anything like this. When hungry, they can travel into backyards where there are small children and pets. And it is not too difficult for them to get into a house.
The hurricanes which attacked the Everglades were a blessing because they killed off a lot of these snakes. But that is not enough. They need to be hunted and laws are needed prohibiting them here.
You make some a good point that people get tired of snakes and release them (which is obviously a terrible idea). However, your assertion that the hurricanes were blessings is absurd. The hurricanes did not kill off snakes, they destroyed pet stores and other places where snakes are stored, allowing them to escape into the wild.
What I’m getting at is the fact that I think CAF is quick to judge this family for a mistake that could have been as simple as improperly securing a latch on the snake’s enclosure after a long day. It seems that we sometimes forget that people deserve the benefit of the doubt, even if it seems plainly obvious to us that what they did was wrong.
All this being said, I will say that snakes like this one should only be owned by people who are experienced with reptiles and who know how to properly secure them. I will also say that it is a poor idea to have a child living in an area with this kind of animal as they cannot be considered domesticated no matter how docile they seem.
This is a tragedy, and our prayers should be with the family.
EDIT: I should also mention that the fact that the man did not possess a permit does have an impact on this situation. Laws about possession of animals exist to protect people from situations like this.