HAMILTON, Ohio —When Michael Secrest walks into the store to run errands — he’s usually doing it with a four-foot ball python wrapped around his neck. 

  • The snake goes everywhere with Michael Secrest, even into stores to run errands with him
  • The snake is four-feet long and he likes to carry it around his neck 
  •  He says he uses it as his emotional support animal

“A lot of reactions I do get is usually people looking at her,” said Secrest.

It’s a scary sight for some. Others just don’t know what to think.

But he says at the many places he goes to, store owners and managers seem open to the idea, letting him carry it around and show people. 

Because he says Kiki the snake is not a pet, but a mental health necessity. 

“I have depression issues, so with her around my neck, she feels like she’s giving me a hug, so that’s what helps me calm through my depression,” said Secrest.

He calls her his emotional support animal —defined by law as any animal approved by a doctor that brings therapeutic value to the owner. 

Just like pit bulls, they’ve turned out to be a different animal than other people think,” said Secrest.

And he says educating people about it helps to bring him out of his depression too. 

“It makes me happy to get out there,” said Secrest.