How to Get a Pennsylvania Juvenile Criminal Record Expunged or Erased

Having a criminal record can seriously mess up your life. It can keep you from being employed, from getting into the college of your choice, from entering into the Armed Forces or from working in certain professions such as teacher, childcare worker or lawyer. To the extent that you have a record and it can be done, it is advised to have it expunged as soon as possible.

Juvenile criminal records are not automatically expunged once the offender is no longer subject to the Juvenile Court's jurisdiction. To get the records expunged, the offender files a Petition for Expungement with the Juvenile Court in the county in which the offense was committed. A hearing is then scheduled before a judge to determine it the request for expungement should be granted. The court will order the records expunged if:

1.The original charges were dismissed or not proven true.

2. Six months have passed since the successful completion of a consent decree (a pretrial program where the case will be dropped if the offender successfully completes terms and conditions as set by a judge or juvenile master).

3. Five years have elapsed since the offender was released from the jurisdiction of Juvenile Court and no other charges have been filed against him.

In addition, the petition may be granted under circumstances where less than five years have elapsed. The court can order records to be expunged when the offender is over 18 and the district attorney consents to the expungement. Before ordering the expungement, the judge must weigh factors such as the gravity of the offense, the age of the offender, any further criminal history, adult and juvenile, the adverse consequences to the juvenile if expungement is not granted and the public's interest in having the records maintained.

Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Lawyer

Whether you are an individual or a company, having to file for bankruptcy can be a serious and stressful matter. However, when debts pile up and there is no other solution it is important to know exactly what steps to take in terms of filing for bankruptcy to minimize the damage caused to your assets and life. A Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer can help you through the bankruptcy period and ensure not only a smooth transition but also minimize on the financial impact on you. As the laws regarding bankruptcy have become far more stringent it has become all the more important to enlist the help of an expert such as a Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer.

A Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer will help you through each stage of your bankruptcy. He or she will be able to offer indemnifiable advice to promote damage limitation in terms of your finances and assets, and having the help of an expert in this field can reduce the stress involved in filing for bankruptcy. In order to reduce the number of frivolous bankruptcies filed, it has become far more difficult now to file for bankruptcy in the United States. A Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer will use experience, skill, and expertise in this area to ensure that bankruptcy is your best option, and to offer advice and assistance on filing for the correct type of bankruptcy depending on your status and circumstances.

Having expert legal advice in matters such as bankruptcy – matters that can affect your life and finances for many years to come – can prove invaluable and can make a real difference to the outcome of the proceedings. However, at an already difficult time in terms of finances and stress it does mean having to come up with the money to pay for these expert services, and this is where most people struggle. However, although you may think that you can not afford the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer it is important to remember that you can not really afford not to have one.

One way to avoid this situation is to take out a prepaid legal services plan, which will enable you to have access to an expert bankruptcy lawyer whenever you need advice and assistance. You will find the cost of premiums for these prepaid legal services is very low, and you can benefit hugely by having continual access to advice from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

Pennsylvania Custody Laws About Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements

The Pennsylvania customs laws are found in Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. These are the guidelines and the rules that parents in Pennsylvania must follow as they create their parenting plans. Here is a brief overview of some of the laws that parents should consider as they make a custody agreement or plan for their customs situation.

1. Pennsylvania parents should make a plan that is in the best interest of the child. In Part 5 of Title 23 in the Statutes, parents are advised that all of the decisions about child custody should be done based on what is best for the child. As a mother and father make a custody agreement, they should determine physical and legal rules based on what will best fulfill the child's needs. The courts in Pennsylvania rigidly adhere to this standard.

2. Part 5 of the Pennsylvania Statutes contain the factors that the court considers when deciding what is in the child's best interest. These factors include: the character of the parents, the current living situation of the child, the parenting abilities, if the parents allow the child to have access to the other parents, and if there has been any history of abuse or violence. Parents need to think about these factors when making a parenting plan. For example, it is illegally that the court will approve a plan where a parent suggests that no time is given to the other parent. This is not in the child's best interest and reflects poorly on the parenting abilities.

3. The Pennsylvania court has the final say in custody matters. If parents are able to agree on their parenting plan or customs agreement, they can simply submit it to the court for approval. If they are not able to agree, the court will determine the plan. Once a judge accepts a plan, the parents must follow it or they can be held in contempt of court.

Grandparent's Custody Rights in Pennsylvania

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes the special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren, and that this relationship is intolerable to strain and disruption if the child's parents separate or divorce.

In the interest of preserving the grandparent-grandchild relationship, laws have been enacted which provide grandparents the ability to pursue various forms of custody of their grandschildren. If a grandparent has been involved in the life of their grandchildren, Pennsylvania laws protect their right to continue that relationship. However, to exercise these custodial rights, a grandparent must have "standing," which is to say that the grandparent must meet the legal prerequisites necessary to assert a claim.

In order to obtain primary physical or legal custody (living with and caring for the child), a grandparent the grandparent must be willing to assume responsibility for the child, and the grandparent's relationship with the child must have initiated from the parent's consent or a court order, and either (1) the child is in danger; (2) the child has been "adjudicated dependent" (found by a court to be without proper parental care or control); or (3) the child stayed with the grandparent for at least twelve (12) consecutive months.

In the case of partial or supervised physical custody (visitation, overnight visits, etc.), a grandparent may pursue custody if the child has stayed with the grandparent for at least twelve (12) consecutive months and the parent is either (1) deceased ; (2) separated for six (6) months; Egypt (3) has filed for divorce.

Simply because a grandparent has standing does not mean that their custom request will be granted. A court will examine the law, the relevant legal prescriptions, and a wide range of factual issues in determining the type and amount of customs to award, or whether to award custodial at all. However, as a general rule; if a grandparent has been actively involved in the life of their grandchildren, and is now being shutout, the courts will assist in continuing to foster the grandparent / grandchild relationship. It is essential to have an attorney present your custodial case persuasively and in the way that gives you the best chance at success.

The law gives parents wide latitude in determining how best to raise their children, and great deference to their decisions concerning with what their children will interact. That the law allows grandparents the ability to seek to impede their will over a parent's objection is a testament to the strength of the bond between children and their grandparents.

Pennsylvania Dutch Hope Chests

The Dower Chest, better known as a Hope Chest or Blanket Chest in present time, is referred to by the Pennsylvania Dutch as Ausschteier Kischt. This piece of furniture is the most cherished and most representative of the Germanic Immigrants who came to live in Pennsylvania during the late 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. Young girls between the ages of eight to ten were given Hope Chests inscribed with their names and usually the date of presentation. This storage chest was filled with household items that the girl made, was given or purchased in anticipation of her future marriage. On her wedding day, this completely filled Hope Chest was proudly placed in the "Wedding Wagon" to be taken to her new home. Items would have included blankets, bed linens, baby clothes, quilts and some family heirlooms.

The design styles, dimensions and construction types differ among these Hope Chests which shows that the craftsmen did not copy one others work. The foot design changes from Dower Chest to Dower Chest with a large variety of bracket feet, rounded ball feet or no feet at all. Some Hope Chests had two or three drawers along the bottom, while others had none. Many Blanket Chests had inlay designs or special painted designs.

The painted designs on some of these Hope Chests are very elaborate which has enabled historians to be able to categorize them by region and to recognize specific craftsmen. These Dower Chest designs included the use of inlaid leaf and flower motifs, unicorns, hearts, birds, hex designs to ward off evil spirits, flower designs primarily of roses or tulips, the name of the girl receiving the Hope Chest and the date that the Hope Chest was presented.

The two common elements of these Hope Chests are the top closing lid and the dark wood staining or paint. Dark coloring was necessary for the design elements to stand out, especially for the inlaid motifs. Beautiful hardwoods of Walnut, Oak and Eastern Pine were mainly used in the construction of these finely crafted Blanket Chests during this early time period.

These Early American Hope Chests were not made with cedar on the inside. Cedar linings and bottoms are the additions of present day craftsmen to their Blanket Chests. This is a favorite feature among buyers since cedar eliminates insect pests and releases a wonderful aroma every time the lid is opened. This fresh smell can be rejuvenated by simply roughing the cedar with small grit sandpaper.

Even though society in many regions has discontinued the tradition of giving Dower Chests to their young daughters, beautifully constructed Hope Chests are still loving given as wedding presents or as a special gift.

Applying For Adoption Under the Pennsylvania Adoption Law

Child adoption under Pennsylvania adoption law – or under any law for that matter, takes a very long process with many complicated legal issues. Although adoption may be the best alternative for childless couples, it is always best to learn more about the whole procedure.

The first thing to do is to know is which agency you is ideal for making your application. Under the Pennsylvania law, public and private adoption agencies are and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW). These agencies are authorized, in various capacities, to help in the facilitation of the placement of an adoptive child into a permanent. Learning about how these agencies work is another important key to your application.

There are three licenses that may be issued to adoption agencies under this state’s law. These three licenses are:

– Having Full Service License – DPW issues this license both to private and public adoption agencies and gives them the authority to assume care and custody of an adoptive child. Asides this, a full-service adoption agency may also provide other services like placing a child up for adoption, initiating the evaluation of prospective adoptive parents; and supervising the placement of an adoptive child into a new permanent home.

With a full service Texas adoption, the agency has the authority under the Pennsylvania law to recall a child from an unhealthy and unsuitable adoptive home environment, and proceed with steps to relocate him or her to a better and more caring permanent home.

– A Non-custodial License – This license allows certain adoption agencies to work hand in hand with public or private full service agencies by specializing in certain areas of the adoption process. They may act as intermediaries between a full service agency and the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the agency, as well as between both the birth and adoptive parents.

A non-custodial adoption agency can perform adoptive placement process. They offer follow-up and support services as well, especially after the child has been placed into their permanent homes. Certain services, under Pennsylvania adoption law, are our of non-custodial licensed-adoption agencies. They may not remove a child from an unsuitable home environment, nor are they authorized to assume the care and custody of a child, as well as initiate adoptive placement processes.

– Inter-country License – This license is issued by DPW as an additional suite of services under the Pennsylvania adoption law. The inter-country license allows these agencies to initiate final adoption proceedings that would allow placement of foreign-born children into permanent domestic homes. If you are interested in adopting a child from Asian countries such as Korea, China, or the Philippines, you may only do so with a private agency, because under Pennsylvania law, these are the only agencies that may provide these services.

Make sure you go for adoption agency authorized and licensed under the law of Pennsylvania. It ensures that you have not overstepped your own boundaries, and that your future son or daughter’s welfare has been taken cared of before they are placed with you.

Ear Cropping Laws in the State of Pennsylvania

In January of 2009, the Pennsylvania House passed a law concerning what supporters of the law call cruelty to animals. This law was a knee-jerk reaction to the killing of 80 dogs by Ammon and Elmer Zimmerman, breeders in Berks County, Pennsylvania. At that time it was perfectly legal to kill your dog in Pennsylvania. Instead of addressing this issue, the House went after the “cruelty issue”.

This so called cruelty comes from docking tails and dew claws and cropping ears of Dobermans, Boxers, Great Danes, and any other dog that is recognized by these features. These particular breed features are what the American Kennel Club considers to be breed standard characteristics. In other words, when showing a Doberman, the dog is expected to meet the required standards, including ears that stand erect, a docked tail and no dew claws.

You can certainly show a Doberman or other breed that is not cropped and docked, but the dog will not be a very successful show champion. Winning dog shows is how breeders prove the worth of their stock and maintain the integrity of the breed. Champion dogs guarantee the care and quality of the breed lines. Until the American Kennel Club adjusts its standards, this new law will cause much grief in the show ring.

The basis of the law states that any dog owner must be able to prove that the ear cropping and tails and dew claw removal were done by a veterinarian. So, if you’re walking down the street and an humane society officer or animal cruelty officer sees your Doberman or Boxer with cropped ears and docked tails, you can be given a summary offense, unless you have a certificate that states a vet did the work. If the crop/dock was done before this law went into effect, you must show a certificate from your county treasurer stating this. In Pennsylvania, you have to pay $1.00 for this certificate.

There are several problems with this new law. It is not clear how it will be handled if you have a cropped/docked dog which you got from a rescue or a shelter. There is not likely to be any paperwork available that indicates when the procedure was done, or if it was done by a vet. The law states that you will not be fined if the tails and dew claws are done within 5 days of birth. If an animal cruelty officer or humane society officer sees the puppy before they are healed, that is considered proof of violation of the law. If the breeder is going to do the tails and dew claws, records must be kept. The law does not specify what type of record or what is necessary to be exempt from being charged with a summary offense.

 Instead of addressing the real issues, the headline grabbing and photo-op seeking politicians decided to go after the innocent hobby breeders and non-commercial breeders. This is twisted politics at it’s best. Unless you are a big breeding operation that makes lots of money, there is no way you can continue to breed your dogs. This means the smaller, more personal, and less competitive breeders can no longer produce litters of these certain breeds. Good, reputable breeders do not just randomly decide which dog they want to breed. They get involved in breeding Dobermans, Boxers, Great Danes, German Pinschers and other cropped and, or docked breeds because they truly love that specific dog and everything that breed represents.

Many states are passing similar legislation regarding this issue. This will eventually completely eliminate smaller, or hobby breeders. This is truly sad.

Parking Lot Towing Enforcement Signs Under The Pennsylvania Code

Like much of the Pennsylvania Code, state regulations on the posting of signs for private parking lots is somewhat wordy and can be difficult to understand. One key provision to notice, however, is that it is illegal to tow any vehicle unless the signs posted in the parking lot are fully in accordance with Pennsylvania law. Thus, it is very important that any Pennsylvania business owner with a private parking lot fully understand the regulations in place to ensure the business lot contains the proper signs in the proper places.

The Code covers two different types of signs used in any private parking lot. The first is defined as “Public Notice Signs,” which show messages referring to the entire lot, such as “Parking for XYZ Business Customers Only,” or simply “Private Parking.” These signs must be posted in specific areas, and must also follow several other regulations. If the parking lot has clearly defined entrances and exits, the law is fairly straightforward and states that a sign must be posted at EVERY entrance to the lot and that each sign must be facing traffic. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Code is not as clear on what is required in parking lots with no clearly defined entrances, such as those that are simply open to the street on one or more sides. In these cases, the Code states only that signs must be posted so that they are “readily visible to an ordinarily observant driver.” How many signs are necessary, or where exactly to place them, is difficult to pin down, so business owners may be best off following the law of “better safe than sorry,” and posting signs very clearly at relatively small intervals throughout the lot. It may also be helpful to speak with a representative from a towing company or even local law enforcement to make sure the signs are posted properly.

Of course, having signs posted in the right locations is only half the battle. Business owners must also ensure that their signs are displaying the correct message in the correct way. To this end, it is important that any signs posted in a parking lot contain three pieces of information as follows:

  1. The primary restriction: essentially the basic message of “Private Parking,” “Parking by Permit Only,” or another phrase along these lines. This message needs to use letters at least 3 inches high. If the sign is more than 75 feet away from an entrance, an extra inch has to be added for every additional 25 feet. As for the width, the letters must be at least 1/8 wide as the required height.
  2. The secondary restriction: this includes the additional information such as which hours of the day or days of the week the sign applies. This can also include a warning that unauthorized vehicles will be towed and/or the charge that will apply. The secondary restriction is NOT required for a sign, but is generally helpful, even if it simply states “No Parking, Any Time.” The secondary restriction requires letters at least 2 inches high. If the sign is larger, the secondary restriction letters must be at least half the size of those in the primary restriction.
  3. The name and telephone number of the owner (or other person in charge) of the lot. The towing company will likely also post their own signs containing their own information.

While the majority of business owners may opt for some version of a pre-made sign, these regulations should always be kept in mind. Finally, one last thing for business owners to consider is the requirement for signs which apply to hours of darkness. If a “No Parking,” sign applies at all to hours in which it may be dark, it is required that the sign be either illuminated or “retroreflectorized.” A retroreflectorized sign must also be placed so that it will be seen in the headlights of any car entering the lot.

The second type of sign regulated under the Pennsylvania Code are “Reserved Parking Signs,” which have messages regarding individual parking spaces. These include Handicapped signs or signs designating a space or area for a specific person or type of vehicle. The first essential regulations for these signs pertain to their size, which must be at least 12 inches by 12 inches, and the height of their lettering, which must be at least two inches high. Such signs should be posted in front of each individual parking space. In the case of parallel parking, the signs must be posted at intervals of no more than 100 feet. Business owners can also choose to mark specific spaces using the pavement or curb, but it is required that these markers be easily visible (again to an “ordinarily observant driver”) AND that the parking lot have a Public Notice Sign stating that the spaces require a permit.

Spaces for the handicapped, along with their accompanying signs, are required by law for all business parking lots in Pennsylvania. It is important to note however, that each handicapped space must be marked not only by the standard handicapped parking sign but also by a second sign indicating that violators will be towed along the minimum and maximum fines for this offense. The second sign is to be posted below the first, which should be posted below any other signs for the parking space, at least 60 inches off the ground. Finally, if either of the signs is missing or “obsolete” (written on, mangled, etc.), it is the responsibility of the parking lot’s owner to replace it as quickly as possible at his or her own expense. While all of this may seem rather convoluted and complex, the task of establishing a business’ parking and towing services is an important one. In most cases, standard signs can be purchased for a lot, and must simply be posted properly. As mentioned before, it may be helpful for business owners to consult someone with more knowledge on the subject, such as a police officer or towing company.

Pennsylvania Car Insurance Shopper’s Guide – PA Auto Insurance Basics

How does one find the best Pennsylvania car insurance? What are some of the cheapest auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania? What are the PA minimum auto insurance coverage requirements? What are some things to look for when comparing Pennsylvania car insurance rates? How does one find Pennsylvania rental car insurance – and should it even be purchased in the first place? These are all key questions for PA residents that are of legal driving age. Read on to learn some of the PA auto insurance basics and see if maybe you can end up saving yourself some money in the process!

Pennsylvania No Fault Auto Insurance Laws

The state of Pennsylvania uses a no-fault system in regards to car accidents. This means that your insurance company will pay your injury claim regardless of who was at fault in the event of an accident. Since no-fault laws vary from state to state and can change over the years, you might want to call or visit the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance if you have any questions.

PA Car Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

Under Pennsylvania law, you are required to have bodily injury coverage in a minimum amount of $15,000 per person, up to $30,000 per accident. Bodily injury insurance will cover such things as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any legal defense costs you may incur as a result of an accident.

Pennsylvania also requires that you carry a minimum of $5,000 worth of property damage liability car insurance. Property damage coverage will pay for damage to another person’s property such as a fence, house, or car, as well as any legal costs that may arise from that damage.

Personal injury protection, or PIP, is required by Pennsylvania state law as well. There are different levels of personal injury coverage available, but the minimum amount required is $5,000. Pennsylvania calls the minimum amount required First Party Benefits-Medical. If you are in an accident, this coverage will pay for related medical and surgical expenses, rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy, any necessary dental, psychiatric, and optometric expenses, ambulance and nursing services, and required medications, medical supplies and prosthetic devices. The policy will only provide benefits to you, any other drivers listed on the policy, and any relatives living in the same home as you.

PA Tort Laws

In Pennsylvania, you must choose a tort option. A tort option defines your right to compensation if you, or any members of your household, are injured by another driver in a car accident.

The limited right to recover damages, or limited tort, provides limited benefits. While you will be covered for all medical and other expenses as a result of an accident, you will not be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering, or other non-monetary damages unless your injuries are serious, such as a life long disability or death. If you choose the limited tort option, your premiums for property damage, full first party benefits, and income loss coverage will be lower than if you choose the full tort option.

If you opt for the full tort coverage, your rights to recover financial compensation are not restricted. Under full tort, not only will you and other members of your family be able to recover damages for medical and other expenses, but you can seek full financial compensation for pain and suffering, and other damages for injuries you received that were caused by another driver in an accident. If you choose the limited tort option, your premiums for property damage, full first party benefits, and income loss coverage will not be reduced.

Optional PA Auto Insurance Coverage

Optional liability coverage in Pennsylvania includes first party extraordinary medical coverage. This type of coverage may give you and any members of your family medical benefit coverage in an amount up to $1,000,000. If you choose this coverage, it will take effect once the limit for your medical expenses has been reached under your personal injury protection insurance.

First party income loss coverage will pay you up to 80 percent of your lost earnings if you are unable to work after being injured in an accident. This coverage is limited to $2,500 per month with a cap of $50,000.

You may also personal the optional first party accidental death car insurance coverage. This type of coverage will provide a death benefit of up to $25,000 if you or a member of your family living in your home dies from injuries sustained in an accident for a period of 2 years after the accident occurred. The $25,000 will only be paid to the designated beneficiary that you will name at the time you purchase this coverage.

First party funeral coverage is another car insurance coverage option you can choose in the state of Pennsylvania. This policy will pay $2,500 toward any funeral expenses if you or a member of your family living in the same household dies as a result of a car accident.

While not required under Pennsylvania law, you may want to also purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury coverage. This will pay for any expenses such as medical, lost wages, injuries sustained in a hit-and-run, and other general damages in the event you are injured by another driver who is either underinsured or uninsured.

You can also purchase the optional uninsured motorist bodily injury car stacking policy. This option will let you increase the limits for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This coverage will, however, increase your car insurance premium.

In addition to all the liability insurance options available in Pennsylvania, you may want to purchase some type of vehicle coverage such as collision, comprehensive, emergency road service, rental car limits, loan/lease gap coverage, and customized equipment policies.

Collision coverage will pay for repair or replacement cost of your car if it has struck another car, object, or has rolled over. Collision coverage cannot be purchased without purchasing comprehensive coverage as well.

Comprehensive coverage will pay for damage from such things as falling objects, fire, certain natural disasters, vandalism, theft, glass damage, and damage caused if you hit an animal.

If you have a loan on your car, or lease your car, the bank or other financial institution may require you to have both collision and comprehensive coverage on your car.

Customized equipment coverage will pay for any special equipment permanently installed on your car, truck, or van such as running boards, brush bars, roll bars, fog lights, bed liners, etc. You can only purchase customized equipment coverage if you have both comprehensive and collision coverage as well.

The optional loan/lease gap insurance available in Pennsylvania will cover the actual cash value of you car at the time of loss, and any greater amount owed at the time of the loss, if your car gets damaged in an accident. This does not include any deductible, unpaid finance charges, excess mileage, or wear and tear charges, and any payment under this type of coverage will not exceed 25 percent of the actual cash value of your car at the time of the loss.

Pennsylvania High Risk Car Insurance

The state of Pennsylvania also has an Assigned Risk Plan. This program offers high risk Pennsylvania car insurance to drivers who are not able to get certain types of coverage. You may need to use this plan because of your driving record, type of car you own, or if you have an unavailable motor vehicle record.

Pennsylvania Rental Car Insurance

Many PA drivers agonize over whether they should purchase rental car insurance. While it is true that your regular PA auto insurance policy will travel with you and cover you even while driving a rental car it is important to make sure that your regular auto insurance policy has all of the coverage that you will want while driving the rental. For example, if you have a very bare bones regular Pennsylvania auto insurance policy then you may want to consider purchasing the rental car insurance.

Finding The Cheapest Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Company

While no one PA car insurance company is the cheapest for everyone it is certainly true that PA has a number of top auto insurance companies. Here is a listing of some of the best:

AIG

SF Insurance

Allstate

Esurance

Progressive Direct

GEICO

Liberty Mutual

Be sure and compare rates from at least 5 different companies in order to find the best policy for your needs.

Compare Pennsylvania Car Insurance Quotes Online

With all the options for car insurance available in Pennsylvania, it may be wise to shop around online for the best rates and coverage. You might want to do a side-by-side comparison of rates, and services available at several different car insurance companies. A little time and research may save you hundreds of dollars on your car insurance policy in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Dreaded Pennsylvania Hoop Snake

Back in the late 60’s my parents still owned a lot of property, in fact they owned over 350 acres, and milked roughly 75 cows per day. One summer day I encountered something that I will never forget, in fact almost 40 years later the incident still remains strong in my mind.

On a lazy August afternoon I was out in a field with my dad, watching him work on the PTO shaft of a tractor, when all of a sudden my dad hollered for me to come to him. He had me climb up on the tractor, and listen to something. Hear that whistle he said, listen…. sure enough I soon heard what sounded like a wolf call, like when the teenage boys see a pretty girl go by, they whistle at them, will, this sorta sounded like that. The noise seemed to be coming from the top part of the field, which was a pretty steep hill. Dad, said, they do that a few times to try to lure people out in the open, or to come closer to them, before they attack.

What is it? I asked dad, a hoop snake, he replied. I’ve seen them twice in all of my years here on the farm. They grow up to 5 feet long and are thicker than a normal snake, they crawl to the top of fields and lay there silently watching for farm animals or even humans to wander into the fields below them. Once they spot a target they will start a series of whistling that can mimic a humans, this often causes the target to wander closer to the snake to investigate the whistling source.

Then the snake will tighten it’s muscles and will bend it’s self into a circle or hoop shape, and being to roll down the hill using its body and gravity to propel it’s self towards the intended target. As the snake is near the target, it leaps and thrusts it’s tail at the victim, on the end of the snakes tail is a very sharp hook or barb that can pierce through a piece of wood. Inside this barb is a strong poison, even stronger than a diamond back rattlesnake.

Dad and I listed and we clearly heard 4 distinct whistles coming from the field above, soon we could see a snake come rolling down the field in our direction. Dad started up the tractor and waited a bit as the snake got closer, as it neared us, Dad moved the tractor forward just as the snake passed by and flung it’s self in our direction. It missed both of us but the barb on it’s tail had become deeply embedded in one of the large tractor tires, punching a hole into it, allowing air to escape. Dad was quite upset, because the tires were very expensive and often were difficult to patch, so he climbed down off the tractor and killed the snake with a rock, while it was attached to the tire. He pulled out his pocket knife and cut off the barb, for me to see. It resembled a spine I had seen before in bullheads and catfish.

I have never seen a hoop snake after this incident, but to this day some folks around this area still mention them. I believe they are now very rare and seldom seen. Just like the small green grass snakes that live here, my brother and I saw one years back, but never again. Some folks say there are no such things as hoop snakes, well they are wrong, I seen one first hand, and I still have the barb that was embedded into the tractor tire back in the summer of 1969.

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