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Reptile rescue services struggles to relocate for UDOT construction


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WEST VALLEY -- Time is running out for James Dix and his reptile rescue service. A West Valley man and his collection of reptiles and other wilds animals, including poisonous snakes are running out of options in finding a new home.

He has to be out of his home in two weeks, by October second, to be exact, to make room for the new Mountain View Corridor on the west side of the Salt Lake valley.

But this isn't your average moving job.

Dix not only has to find a place for himself to live, but also more than 400 snakes, reptiles and animals few of us have probably ever seen even at the zoo. You won't find another backyard like this one. It is where James Dix has coyotes, foxes, raccoons, turtles, iguanas, even a small alligator. And when you go into his house, you'll find dozens of venomous snakes.

Dix and his non-profit organization, known as Reptile Rescue, has been trying for some time to find a place he can move his animals where he can fit into zoning regulations. He has been in West Valley City for 18 years, but Dix and city officials couldn't agree on two possible locations. Now Dix is fighting rumors that the animals will have to be euthanized.

"We're concerned that people are concerned about their animals that came here permanently, being destroyed and euthanized, we want to make sure everyone knows that will not happen," Dix said.


We're concerned that people are concerned about their animals that came here permanently, being destroyed and euthanized, we want to make sure everyone knows that will not happen.

–- James Dix


If you are afraid of snakes --don't worry --Dix and his friends won't be moving to your neighborhood. The places he is now considering are in commercial zones.

"We have three properties we've been looking at and hopefully we will have an answer on one of the three, in Salt Lake county, one up in Herriman and one is in Salt Lake City."

Most of Dix's neighbors have been gone since the beginning of the summer. UDOT has given him more time, but now needs to begin utility work for the new highway.

"UDOT has bent over backwards to work with us. They have gone through the same hardships as us, trying to help us find a place," Dix said.

Dix is one of just a few people in Utah who is licensed to handle dangerous reptiles, like rattlesnakes, and is still helping to rescue injured reptiles or move them away from neighborhoods.

"We want it safe for the people, the public, and we want it safe for the snakes>

Dix hopes to have an answer on where he will be going by tomorrow night. Then the work will begin of moving the animals to a new home --a process Dix believes will take several days.

Email:spenrod@ksl.com.

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Sam Penrod

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