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UDOT files court papers to evict reptile rescuer

UDOT files court papers to evict reptile rescuer

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WEST VALLEY — Utah transportation officials are tired of their year-long wrangle with a reptile rescuer and his menagerie of more than 900 animals — they wants James Dix out of his rental home, and now.

The state agency filed a complaint with 3rd District Court seeking relief in the property case involving Dix and the home where he houses the animals — which happens to lay in the pathway of the planned Mountain View Corridor.

Dix, however, has had trouble finding a new, suitable location for his life's passion — rescuing abandoned, maltreated and misunderstood reptiles and other critters that need a home.

Over the years, Dix has built up a reputation with animal shelters and state wildlife officials for his expertise in dealing with a wide variety of animals— from coyotes and rattlesnakes to very large and exotic snakes and tortoises.

Dix does outreach in the community as well, lecturing parents, children and potential pet owners about the challenges — and delights — that can come with owning reptiles.

His efforts, however, have been in jeopardy over the past year because of the difficulty in relocating his animals elsewhere due to zoning ordinances and other regulatory hurdles.

UDOT, in its paperwork filed Tuesday, said Dix was paid $18,250 for relocation expenses and rental replacement housing assistance and some of that money has gone toward a new Salt Lake rental property. The status of that property is unclear.

Although Dix has repeatedly said he would move out by Oct 2, according to UDOT, that day came and went and Dix said he was continuing to move items. To date, the agency said, Dix has failed to comply with any notices to vacate.

A bid submitted to UDOT over the safe transportation of the animals speaks to the monumental task. In one room alone it includes the removal of 63 tanks of assorted sizes, 20 northern scorpions, two desert hairy scorpions, two death stalker scorpions, six black widows, four brown recluse spiders, and 20 assorted tarantulas, along with shelves and brackets.

Efforts to reach Dix late Tuesday were unsuccessful.

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Amy Joi O'Donoghue


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