A reptile rescue organization which had issues in King and Stokes Forsyth counties has found a new home in the Kernseville area.
Chad Griffin, the owner of CCSB Reptile Rescue and Rehab Center, had housed a number of exotic animals stored in the a residential King area as part of his rehabilitation efforts earlier this year, but was forced to move them in February after the county changed its ordinances over concerns about public safety.
“We had a place there that fell under the county criteria,” he said. “Everything is safe and secure. Everything we do is on a professional level. We take seizures from all over the United States.”
But local officials worried about what would happen if any of the exotic animals, including highly venomous snakes, a crocodile and multiple alligators escaped.
King Police Chief Paula May said a main safety concern was the lack of availability of anti-venom for some of the venomous animals at the location, and added that there were also concerns about the impact on emergency service personnel if they ever had to respond to the location for an emergency.
As a result, the county changed its ordinances and required to Griffin to remove the animals within a five day time period, which he complied with. Griffin had had similar problems in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in 2015.
Griffin announced last week the the animals had a new home in the Kernersville area. He plans to have a grand opening at the new location, 508 D East Mountain Street, on Saturday May 14 at 9:45 a.m.
“Most animal rehabs operate out of their own homes, but because of the type of animals we care for, we were told we couldn’t do that,” Griffin said.
CCSB rescues reptiles but also provides for reptile medical care and pet adoptions. In addition, they have a strong educational mission, believing that helping people get to know and understand these creatures is key to promoting tolerance and acceptance.
The unique nature of their work and mission meant finding an acceptable location within Forsyth County was difficult. Despite multiple attempts, CCSB encountered repeated rejections from county zoning until the Town of Kernersville stepped in to help.
“What they’re bringing to Kernersville is something we haven’t seen,” says Mike Horney, who handles zoning permits for the Town of Kernersville, “we’re very excited about the opportunity.”
Although the Town of Kernersville is located within Forsyth County, they are responsible for their own zoning and were able to accommodate the unique nature of Chad Griffin’s business within existing zoning rules.
“It’s an incredibly interesting project,” Horney added, “probably one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen.”
“The people here in Kernersville have been so great to us, so welcoming. It’s just been a wonderful experience working with them,” Griffin shared.
In their new storefront location, CCSB can handle sales, as well as continue their educational mission by displaying the animals they have rescued and recovered for people to come in and see. Current sale and display animals include many pet friendly reptiles such as lizards, turtles and tortoises, but they also showcase (but do not sell) some of the more dangerous creatures they have recovered over the years, including venomous snakes such as cobras and western diamondback rattlesnakes.
“Most people are afraid of reptiles,” Chad says, “They don’t understand the vital role these creatures play in our environment. We want people to see them first hand and help them learn more about what they do that benefits all of us.”
As part of their educational mission, CCSB has partnered with a local production company to produce a series called “Reptile Rangers,” which follows the family’s adventures in dealing with reptiles of all kinds.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.