• The man was walking along the street with the python and using it to threaten people, police allege
  • The python reportedly died after the incident
  • Animal rights groups are advocating for a complete stop of wildlife animals like snakes being kept as domesticated pets

A Canadian man who went viral after using his pet snake as a weapon in a street fight has been arrested and charged, police say.

The man, identified as 45-year-old Laurenio Avila, of Toronto, was charged with assault with a weapon and unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal, according to the Toronto Police Service's press release.

The incident happened on May 10 at around 11:50 p.m. local time in the Dundas Street West and Manning Avenue Area of Toronto.

Toronto police said they received a report of Avila allegedly using his python to threaten people while walking in the area.

A physical altercation ensued between Avila and another man after he allegedly approached the victim with the python, police said.

In a video of the incident that was shared on Twitter, a man can be seen swinging his snake to hit another person in the middle of the road. He kept on striking the victim, who was not named, with the pet until Toronto police officers intervened.

After the cops downed the man with the python, the bruised snake slithered away from the scene.

The Toronto Star said a city representative confirmed that the python died after the incident.

Social media users were outraged over the snake being used in a fight.

"Animal abuse. I feel sick about people that keep snakes and birds as pets. It's sickening, and this man needs to be prosecuted for abuse of that snake. I hate people," one user commented.

"That's absolutely vile. Some people don't deserve animals," another wrote, tagging animal rights advocate group PETA.

While some were amused by the street fight and the use of the snake as a weapon, many others condemned them for their "distasteful jokes."

"The fact that there are so many distasteful jokes scares me. Y'all wouldn't be so quick to make such disgusting jokes or comments if it was a dog or cat he was swinging like that," one user pointed out.

Avila appeared before a Canadian court on May 11 via video link and was remanded into custody.

Animal rights groups such as PETA have long been advocating that wildlife animals like pythons should not be kept as domesticated pets, arguing that reptiles are inherently solitary creatures that don't like to be held by humans.

PETA argued that animals like snakes being kept as pets develop illnesses in closed spaces as they need to move around and they can't do that if they are confined in enclosures.

The group also condemned the demand for pet snakes as it promotes unethical breeding and animal trafficking.