The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office’s animal control officer didn’t seem too happy to see a recent donation, Sheriff Adam King joked.
“She probably wishes they were even a couple of feet longer,” King said. “But no, we’re very happy to receive this donation and this will help us out. We have a couple already but they’re pretty rudimentary. This one’s professionally designed.”
The donation, a set of snake tongs, comes courtesy of former Cleburne now Godley resident Ton Jones who last week donated one set to JCSO and another to the Godley Volunteer Fire Department.
They’ll come in handy, King said.
“We get ‘em,” King said of snake calls. “Mainly we get the roaming dog and there’s a cow in the road calls, but we get snake calls too, all kinds of animal calls really. A lot of the larger counties have a professional animal control officer. Out here though the deputies are responsible for handling those calls. These tongs will help a lot when we run into snake calls.”
Jones, who’s worked in the wildlife industry for the majority of his life, said he was happy to help out.
“My thought is work local and start in your own backyard when it comes to giving back,” Jones said. “I design the tongs and a company manufactures them for me.”
The donation idea grew out of a meeting Jones had with County Commissioner Rick Bailey.
“Ton recently moved out to a new development near Godley,” Bailey said. “I held sort of an open house to get to know the new residents and we got to talking about what he did and he thought it would be a good idea to donate a couple of the tongs.”
Jones, among other things, previously worked with “National Geographic,” “Auction Hunters,” Garret Bryl and as a wildlife rescue worker in the Mojave Desert.
Jones said he remains dedicated to educating the public on the necessity of snakes and safe ways to deal with or handle them when encountered.
“You hear that the only good snake is a dead snake,” Jones said. “But, get rid of all the snakes and you’re going to have an attic full of rodents spreading disease and out there destroying all the crops and then you’re going to have everyone asking to bring the snakes back.”
The tongs Jones designed feature extended reach.
“A snake can strike about half the length of its body,” Jones said. “When you hear people talking about snakes jumping six feet that’s just fear talking. “With [the tongs], you can get hold of them and pick them up mid-body and be completely safe. They’re good for getting them behind the fridge, under beds or stoves without harm.”
That said, Jones recommended that anyone running across a snake in their homes or property should call law enforcement or first responders.
Godley Fire Chief James Woolard said he and his firefighters are very grateful to Jones for his donation.
“We’re seeing a lot of new development in the Godley area now, and that’s something everyone expects will continue for the foreseeable future,” Woolard said. “Of course, when you go in and build new homes you’re moving snakes and other wildlife out of their habitat and they tend to show up more in other places.”
Now is the time to be on the lookout, Jones said.
“As we get into fall and it starts getting cooler they get out and move around more,” Jones said. “During summer it’s too hot during the days for them to get out much. They find cooler spots to stay in or move around during nighttime.”