Oregon cop battles 12-foot python to save pet store owner

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- A pet store owner in Eugene, Oregon, is calling a police sergeant a hero for saving her from the coils of a 12-foot python.

Teresa Rossiter had reached into a cage to show the snake to a customer when the Burmese python bit her right hand. It then coiled around her left arm to throw her to the floor.

A friend kept the snake off her neck and body while police were called.

When Sergeant Ryan Nelson rushed into the store, he was ready to kill the snake with his knife. But Rossiter asked him to spare the expensive python. So, Nelson put on gloves and pried open the snake's mouth to free Rossiter's hand.

Two responders from the Fire Department helped unwrap the snake, which was eventually returned to its cage.

Rossiter suffered dozens of puncture wounds, but she, the sergeant and the python are now fine.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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