Three caimans that have lived in a Kansas City home for decades drew police and city scrutiny Wednesday after a utility worker spotted them late Tuesday and called authorities.
The AT&T worker noticed the 3- to 6-foot-long reptiles while working on cable lines in a backyard in the 4900 block of Euclid Avenue. Police officers allowed inside the home saw three reptiles and two exotic birds.
One of the caimans, which are South American relatives of crocodiles, had the ability to go into the home’s backyard from the basement through a rectangular cutout in the door, police said.
A city investigation revealed that the owners apparently have a mid-1990s court order allowing them an exemption to the city’s ordinance against keeping such exotic animals, said city spokesman Chris Hernandez. The city is working to verify that order.
The home actually has been a wildlife sanctuary since the 1960s, according to Kansas City Star archives. At one point in the 1990s, the place boasted 34 caimans, one alligator, eight macaws, a parrot, six chickens, two geese and 31 white rats.
After the city tried to evict the exotic animals in the 1990s, owner Pat Nichols Jacobs filed a lawsuit seeking to keep them at what she called Parrot Hill Crocodile Farm, a place sometimes visited by schoolchildren.
Her son, Michael Jacobs, released a statement Wednesday that said, “Let me assure you that everything is legal and proper at this residence. I have paperwork signed by the city attorney authorizing me to continue to maintain what remains of my mother’s small animal sanctuary while abiding by the same rules she did. …
“I know you are always on the lookout for a sensational story but there is none here. Thank you.”
The Star’s Brian Burnes contributed to this report.