‘Snake Woman’: I Can’t Pay $650 MBTA Cleaning Bill

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.”

More from Carl Stevens
  • howard

    Must be a mental disability right?

  • Jill Somers

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

  • KF4766

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

    • hjuyukri

      ..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.

  • Joe K

    Since when are the train cars sanitary?

  • T F

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

  • response

    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.

    • mariadri

      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.

      • Mike

        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…

  • giselle

    (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.

  • Denise

    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!

  • Rose

    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” ?

    • Cynic

      What If,What If,What If……

    • hjuyukri

      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.

  • Draac

    sell the snake and pay your bill girl !

  • Rob

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

  • ron.s

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

  • buildmeister

    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!

  • Charlie

    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

  • Ivan Mazepa


    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.

  • Brian K Peteson


  • Lucy

    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.

  • Lucy

    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.

  • Boston Resident

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

  • Larry S

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

  • flight0309

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

  • T rider

    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

  • Get over youself

    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..

  • http://www.opiso.com/2011/02/23/non-sequiturs-02-23-11/ OPISO » Non-Sequiturs 02.23.11

    […] bill. But she would like the MTA people to take a bite out of a delicious apple she found. [CBS Boston via […]

  • timma

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

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