Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville McDonald's bans woman who brought snake into restaurant

By GLENN McENTYRE
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A Westerville McDonald's banned a local woman after she brought a 3-foot python into the fast food restaurant.

Virginia Clagg said she was running errands with her son Friday, June 28, and had her pet ball python named Sushi with her.

Clagg said Sushi is just one of the pets she owns. She said she uses the animals to teach children at her home day care, but Sushi is the only one who gets to leave the house.

"She's been everywhere. Literally everywhere. Restaurants, Dairy Queen, Walmart," said Clagg. "She's very tame and the 2-year-olds hold her. She's very docile. Nice, sweet snake."

Clagg said the python was with her while she ran errands last Friday. It included a stop at a pet store and at the Westerville McDonald's at 40 S. Cleveland Ave.

"I shoved Sushi down my sleeve and I had her inside my jacket."

Clagg said no one would have seen Sushi if her son hadn't said mentioned it loudly to the employees.

"A manager comes in and says, 'You have to leave,' " Clagg said. " 'You can't keep a snake in here.' I was like, 'OK. I get it. We're going to go. Can I just have a bag for our food?' "

Clagg said she was packing up her kids and their food, but apparently not fast enough for management. She said management ordered her out multiple times within a few minutes and then called police.

"Four different people, four different times: 'Leave! Leave! Leave!' And then calling the police on me? And I've got my children with me? Who does that?" Clagg said.

She said she knows many people would pose the question to her: Who would bring a snake to a McDonald's?

"Right. I agree. Which is why she was in my jacket, which is why I was so quick to say, 'Sorry, yeah, I'm outta here,' " she said, "But the 'You gotta leave! You gotta leave! You gotta leave!' and then calling the cops on me? They took that a little too far."

The owners of the McDonald's decided against pressing disorderly conduct charges against Clagg, but say they will pursue trespassing charges if she returns.

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