Snake breeder says he’s dropping plans for Indiana site

(WISH Photo, file)

GASTON, Ind. (AP) — A snake breeder says he’s dropping plans for moving his business into a former church after neighbors in the rural central Indiana area raised safety worries to county officials.

The proposal called for converting the vacant Open Gate Ministries church near the town of Gaston into a facility for breeding reptiles and shipping them to buyers.

Jeff Ronne tells The (Muncie) Star Press he’s withdrawing his application with Delaware County zoning officials because of what he calls the hysteria of neighbors.

Several people sent letters to the county plan commission, saying they worried boa constrictors could escape and grow large enough to threaten pets and young children.

Ronne says he builds zoo cages that are secured from escape and that he’s been in the business for 30 years. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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