October 4, 2013

Farmer says oil company brought killer snake to his land

The Express-Star


Chickasha resident Larry McCoy moved out to the countryside to get away from loud noise and heavy traffic flow, but the last thing he thought he’d fall victim to was when one of his prized head of cattle was bitten to death by a “Coontail” rattlesnake, properly know as the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.

McCoy said Continental Resources, an Oklahoma City-based petroleum exploration company, had been laying some pipes in the ground to use as water resource lines for fracking operations in and around his property, when the snake appeared.

McCoy said one of his prized head of cattle, 18 months old and worth about $2,000 on its own, suddenly started gaining a lot of water weight and swelled up to about two times its normal body weight.

“I had a heffer and she was gaining weight, bigger than a barrel,” McCoy said. “When he (the veterinarian) opened her up, she was just full of fluids where she shouldn’t have been.”

The veterinarian in southeastern Oklahoma he sought help from told him the cow had been bitten by a poisonous snake directly in one of its veins and died several days after being bitten. 

McCoy found the snake coiled up behind his house about to bite his dog when he picked up his Remington Model 1100 12-gauge shotgun, loaded it with heavy load shells and shot the snake.

He said he holds Continental Resources responsible for bringing the snake into his environment and the snake killing his prized cow. He said Continental laid 30 to 40 aluminum pipes up and down County Road 1350 and believes the snake hitched a ride in one of those pipes or maybe in some other piece of the equipment.

In addition to blaming Continental for indirectly dropping the snake onto his land, McCoy said he isn’t happy with the condition of County Road 1350, which runs in front of his house. He said the Continental big rigs were too heavy for the roads and now the roads have grooves in them and are far looser then they were before Continental’s arrival. 

He spoke with a representative from Continental Resources complaining about the roads and obviously about the snake allegedly killing his cow. The representative told him, “We’ve got your information.”

Continental Resources Vice President of Public Relations Kristin Miskovsky said it is highly unlikely to nearly impossible that the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake hitched a ride on one of their trucks.

Grady County is responsible for maintaining county roads, but Miskovsky said Continental Resources would be happy to help in this regard, if asked.

According to the Stephens County Game Warden, Jerrod Davis, Western Diamondbacks aren’t indigenous to Chickasha, so for one to be on McCoy’s property, it would likely have had to hitch a ride from somewhere.

However, Davis said even though the Western Diamondback is mostly indigenous to western Oklahoma, they could travel as far east as Anadarko, in a natural setting.

McCoy lives about seven miles east of Chickasha, and is not only a farmer, but is also an Oklahoma state nuisance control operator. 

He said he gets called out to trap nuisance animals like opossums, skunks, bobcats and other nuisance animals.

He also catches snakes, so he knew what type of snake it was when he saw it coiled up, which he said led him to believe it may have hitched a ride on one of the Continental Resource big rigs that had heavily occupied the road he lives on during the past month.

McCoy said he feels like Continental Resources is giving him the run around and he wants an apology, not only for the snake but for the condition of the road and for them to bring it back up to the condition it was before they arrived.