BOSTON (CBS) – The woman who lost her snake on the Red Line last month said she can’t afford to pay the bill the MBTA sent her to clean the train.

30-year-old Melissa Moorhouse of Allston lost her 3-foot long boa constrictor January 6. It was found alive and well several weeks later.

On Tuesday, the T sent her a bill for $650 to cover the cost of sanitizing the train.

“I’m on disability, there’s no way that I can pay that amount,” she told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Wednesday.

“I don’t know how I would possibly do it. I really don’t.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens talks to Moorhouse

Moorhouse said she feels like she’s being “vilified.”

“Why do they not sanitize the trains anyway?”

“I have seen people throwing up on the bus or the train. People bleeding. Do those people get bills too?”

“The risk of salmonella with a boa is actually really, really low.”

Comments (45)
  1. howard says:

    Must be a mental disability right?

  2. Jill Somers says:

    $650 to clean 1 car? Is that the janitors job anyways. Geesh! This is ridiculous! Lets fundraise!

  3. KF4766 says:

    She is being held responsible because she didn’t follow the rules!! Just pay up and drop it!

    1. hjuyukri says:

      ..and since when is it a known rule that you can’t carry snakes on a train car? dogs are allowed on some trains, and they carry many more diseases and are much more dangerous than a harmless 3-foot boa. And what about the rats? snakes on trains* might actually be the latest and most efficient way of pest-control! plus, it’s completely environmentally friendly.

  4. Joe K says:

    Since when are the train cars sanitary?

  5. T F says:

    Maybe l”loose” a few snakes on the Orange line ? What does someone have to loose to get Signals,Switches and Disabled Trains fixed?

  6. response says:

    If she can’t pay the bill, she should start cleaning cars for the T….
    You certainly have enough money to keep changing the color of your hair….
    SORRY, get a job and pay the bill, or contact the T and work it off.
    You run to the news every time you want someone to feel bad for you.
    Stop looking for a free ride in life, and take some responsibility for your actions.

    1. mariadri says:

      wow, next time try reading a little closer before you run your mouth and say “get a job” blah blah blah. SHE’S ON DISABILITY. now i’m not saying it wasn’t STUPID of her to bring a snake on the T, and let alone lose it there. but try reading more thoroughly before you say things that don’t apply.

      1. Mike says:

        And yet this mysterious disability does not prevent her from physically carrying around a large, heavy snake or from speaking responsively to reporters. Can you think of any jobs that require only light lifting and the ability to communicate? I can think of several…

  7. giselle says:

    (1) how can you afford to buy the snake and maintain it (food, heat lamp, etc) on disability?
    (2) why was the snake not in a carrier like other animals (cats example) are required to be when traveling in a public place?
    You are selfish and clueless.

  8. Denise says:

    is there something in writing that states she would be charged for bringing the animal on the T? How would she know she shouldn’t do it. And nobody says common sense rains… remember the bozo that spilled hot coffee at McDonalds and got millions!!!!! When was the last time someone was fined for letting something loose on the T? if we’re talking sanitary just catching someone P-ing should be fairly easy – cuz the place has always smelled like urine any time I’ve been on it – and if they’re cleaning it… they aren’t doing a very good job!

  9. Rose says:

    Due to diseases the sanke could pass on, esp to those w/ comprimised immune systems, the car had to be disinfected. Then there is the fact the T had to stop, take the train out of service inconviencing many riders. If she wants to take a snake on the T (and I still don’t understand why it was allowed) then she should be responsible for any problems as a result.
    What if someone who was terrified of snakes came across it and had a serious problem as a result, would we all be going “oh well” ?

    1. Cynic says:

      What If,What If,What If……

    2. hjuyukri says:

      Honestly, the chances of catching a disease from a snake are close to nil. And didn’t it say that the snake was found a few months later by a startled PASSENGER riding on the TRAIN?!? It sounds like the T company didn’t even bother to tell the people about it, let alone take the train out of service. They never even clean those things anyways, they’re just trying to turn it into a scheme to get some cash. And if they are making such a big deal out of it, why did they let her bring it on the train in the first place? it’s not like they would fee someone $600 if a cat got loose, and a surprising amount of people are strongly allergic to cats (including me!) Yeah, you would hold the owner responsible if their dog bit someone, but the snake didn’t do anything harmful to anyone. And if the T allowed it on in the first place, you’d think they would have to take into consideration what would happen if it got loose. And so what if someone with a strong case of ophidiophobia came across it? Snakes are an important natural part of the environment, if not this particular species. There are billions of common things people are afraid of–fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of falling down stairs, fear of water, fear of death, fear of light, fear of day, fear of night, fear of the sun, fear of computers, fear of choking on a gristly piece of meat. And just in the train setting alone, there are fears of: motion, cramped spaces,, people, disease, rats, roaches, dirty gum, getting lost, strange places, hobos, the lights going out, being underground, being on a raised platform in the air, and the train jumping the tracks and everybody on board dying, to name just a few. If everything that anyone was afraid of was removed or destroyed, literally nothing would exist. zilch. nada. no food, no people, no earth, life, no universe. The goal isn’t to create a perfect world (though the government’s job is to make you think that we’re living in a perfect world), it’s to learn to live and be happy with the one we’ve got.

  10. Draac says:

    sell the snake and pay your bill girl !

  11. Rob says:

    If you own the animal, you also own the costs of that animal. Sorry, no sympathy.

  12. ron.s says:

    i would not pay my self . how about the rats ? what a joke the T is.

  13. buildmeister says:

    This battle should be interesting: the hipster woman on disability with a non-conformist pet versus the oversized state government agency with an inflated cleaning bill likely because it was done by union labor. Welcome to Massachusetts!

  14. Charlie says:

    Everyones moving away, it’s to quiet here, if u don’t live in Boston u can’t get something to eat past 10pm, oh wait a min me and my wife will take the t into Boston and eat, wait the t shuts down at midnight, like I said it is to quiet around here, old people stay, our youngsters move away

  15. Ivan Mazepa says:


    They should have just billed the $650 as a punishment NOT as some trumped up cleaning charge. THOSE TRAINS ARE DIRTY ANYWAY….. However, THIS WOMAN NEEDS TO TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HER STUPIDITY. I got off that train at that same stop 15 minutes before that damn snake was found and you better believe I would have kicked that thing to death.

  16. Brian K Peteson says:


  17. Lucy says:

    Agreed that the snake should have been in a carrier but accidents happen. This doesn’t bother me. With free skippy – the grandparents weren’t even watching their 1 year old grand daughter with the dog – the dog who was suffering from Lyme disease – they are blaming the dog for their own laziness – neglect and incompetence. It’s their fault but the dog gets the blame and has been paying the price. It’s horrible. Some people are just horrible – arrogant people. They don’t consult experts. They just go with what they feel. — I’m glad that I’m not like that as I always seek out information. There is so much out there. It’s not perfect but it beats feelings.

  18. Lucy says:

    There are so many pet owners that just don’t really take the time and make the effort to keep their pets safe. The ones that do get criticized by some that they think they do too much for them when it may not be true. Maybe people need to mind their own business a little more.

    $650 seems pretty steep. What can she pay? What seems reasonable? If this kind of thing happened often then it would be a big problem. Education. Fines. Reporting.

    People should keep their pets in carriers if possible. Keep them on leashes. Just be considerate of others.

    You can walk into any place and see people lost in their own worlds – expect everyone to drop everything to help them. I cannot be the only person to observe this every day common behavior.

  19. Boston Resident says:

    Pay up! Tax Payers are already paying for your so called Disability!

  20. Larry S says:

    Wah, wah, wah-stop giving idiots the microphone, leave them to their own devices! Pay up snake lady

  21. flight0309 says:

    She should send the T a bill for all the vermin (rats and mice) that Penelope exterminated (ate) during her month riding the T.

  22. T rider says:

    You can afford the stupid pet you can afford the bill make installments how many hours were spent by workers needed elsewhere looking for it

  23. Get over youself says:

    Quit your crying Oh I lost my snake on the train because it was not in a proper case feel bad for me, Hooray you found my snake I am so happy. Oh I got a bill because they had to “clean” the train car feel bad for me. Get off your butt get a job and stop moochn off the government you little cry baby…Sell the dumb snake and pay your bills..

  24. timma says:

    break out a broom biatch! your fault. work it off for the cost of a tattoo

  25. Sammi says:

    All snake owners are total losers, especially the ones feigning disability.

  26. Sammi says:

    Why did they give it back to her? Why didn’t the T employees kill this stupid snake?

  27. Monique says:

    Next time keep the pet in the carrier/box. You let it loose, you pay to clean up after it. When you took in that pet you became responsible for it.

  28. Joe says:

    What is the purpose of carrying this snake in the open onto a train to begin with? It should have been at least concealed. Most people are petrified of snakes to begin with. All I can figure is this person thought it’s cool, look I carry a snake. It could have been worse than a cleaning bill. What if an elderly person had a heart attack from fright?

  29. whatnext says:

    As Moorehouse said, she probably could have found the snake herself the same day, but the T wouldn’t let her look for it. They didn’t even believe her at first. “They asked me if I was hallucinating and what kind of drugs I had taken,” she said. If only because of the difference in experience with snakes, they should have let her look for a little while at least. They might have spared themselves several weeks of a PITA.

  30. euromoon says:

    How did she loose a three foot long snake to beign with? Did she sit it on the seat next to her and look away? oops …where did it go!?

  31. Pepper Greene says:

    Excuse me, “…SLIMY friend”? Come on Mr Keller. your biology teacher would be wondering if you had been listening, in class. Snakes are not slimy! Scaly, yes. Dry, yes. But, slimy, no, no, no.

  32. melissa says:

    1ST of all she shouldnt have the snake on the train!!! i do not care for snakes, alot of people dont, some people terrified but she didnt have a care in the world about those people so why should we care she got a $650 bill for her own mistake!!! she did it, she brought it on train with no reguard for the other passengers & was irrisponsible & lost it! oh & the people throwing up on the train….they cant control that, but you made the choice to bring the snake on train so pay the bill or work out some community service agreement with mbta to pay off debit!!!

  33. Karen says:

    She needs to be responsible for her actions. She shouldn’t have a snake on the train in the first place!

  34. Charlie says:

    She should pay

  35. Responsible Pet Owner says:

    The MBTA has a strick policy of pets and animals on it’s vehicles. Check their website and most written liturature- Service animals allowed at any time/ dogs allowed at discretion of T personnel and must be leashed/ Small domestic animals must be in lap sized container. Can someone tell me when a boa became a small domestic animal? Wait there was that guy who thought a white tiger was a domestic animal and look what happened to him. I say you violated the MBTA rules, you pay the piper. Be thankful someone isn’t filing a case with MSPCA for not looking out for the animal’s welfare. That’s like letting a dog run in traffic. You should have known better.

  36. Kwarmaine says:

    I see where she’s foolish and it’s pretty much her fault, but at the same time $650.00 is exsessive, if it’s a strict rule that does not pertain to such animals she should not have been able to get on in the first place, so it doesn’t solely rest on just her. Mbta needs to actually have people looking for these type of things to prevent a ”next” time. She shouldn’t pay for a job they would and will have to do regardless, if punishment is necessary, then restrict her from bringing any type of pet.

  37. Kwarmaine says:

    Besides, if someone had been hurt we all know this whole thing would definately weigh heavier on the ”T” for their lack of securing the area of such an event as well as the woman responsable, think people.

  38. Reggie says:

    What compelled her to bring the snake on the train anyway? And why didn’t she know it was missing? And for the “T” to say they clean the trains, buses and commuter trains on a regular basis? Give me a break! The bathrooms aren’t cleaned on a regular basis. Swept maybe, but not cleaned…

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