Snake ‘Hoarder’ Goes to Jail
A Louisiana man who had almost 100 snakes in his home was sentenced to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Originally the sentence was two years, but a judge reduced it by half if the fine is paid within 60 days. If it is not paid the full two-year period in jail could be required. The man’s home was searched last year due to a complaint to the local sheriff’s office about the possibility that animals were being sold illegally. The man plead guilty to animal cruelty charges and the snakes were confiscated by authorities, to be relocated to Florida. Some of the snakes found in the home were pythons. It isn’t entirely clear if the man was a snake hoarder or trafficker, as one source used the word hoarder, but it also referenced selling snakes online.
His wife was also cited in the case, but her location is unknown and she is now considered a fugitive. They lived near, or in Oakdale, LA, a town of less than 9,000 with about 23% of the population living below the poverty line. Low income levels sometimes play a role in these kind of situations, because animal trafficking is perceived as only about business, so the animals involved can be stuffed into very small spaces, malnourished or dehydrated while the owners do nothing about it because they see the animals as products or property to sell.
In other cases animal hoarding can be a sign of mental illness, and often is believed to be connected with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Animal hoarders believe they are helping animals in their homes, even when some of them might have died or are starving, or sick. In this particular case it sounds like the man who was jailed was an illegal animal breeder and seller.
Anonymous tips to authorities can be very helpful to law enforcement, who may otherwise have no reason to investigate private property, especially if the animal selling is taking place online, which reportedly was the means of distribution in this situation.
Image Credit: mariluna