Tybee couple claims reptile discrimination - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tybee couple claims reptile discrimination

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TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -

No snakes allowed?

That's what a Tybee Island couple is claiming after a dispute over pet reptiles with their homeowner's association.

The Brocks have an entire reptile collection, including five snakes and six lizards, as well as a dog.

They said when the homeowner's association caught wind of their exotic pets, it became a major issue, and now their lease is not being renewed.

The couple is claiming reptile discrimination.

Amanda Brock said when they first moved into Pavilion Walk on Tybee Island last year, their landlords knew about their collection of exotic pets.

"He said he was fine with it, don't worry about it," said Brock.

A few months later, the attitudes about their lizards and snakes started to change.

"We caught wind the homeowner's association was wanting us to leave because of the reptiles," she said.

The landlord said on Friday the reptiles did cause some concerns among tenants and others, but had nothing to do with the lease not being renewed.

The Brocks claim otherwise.

"About two weeks ago we got a call from our landlord saying he was not renewing our lease because the HOA was threatening to fine him because we had too many pets." Said Brock.

She called the fear ridiculous.

"They are all taken care of, all in safe enclosures where they can't get out."

The Brocks contacted an attorney, and the bylaws for the homeowners association state no more than two pets under 40 pounds, but their attorney told them exotic animals are not like cats and dogs.

"Our reptiles are in enclosures and locked up and no different than having fish, but because they are snakes and the HOA doesn't like snakes, we are being forced to move," said Brock.

If she takes her snakes outside, Brock said they stay on her. The Brocks have to be out of their apartment by June 1, but not before contacting animal rights groups and their lawyer again.

"We feel like we are being discriminated against," she said. "We have been good tenants, good neighbors, and there is no good reason for us to be forced out of our home."

A member of the homeowner's association said there was no problem with reptiles, and the landlord said the snakes and lizards were not the reason the lease was not being renewed.

He wouldn't go into other details, but he said he co-owns the property the Brocks rent, and they have every right to not renew the lease.

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