Police say the 850 snakes found in a disabled New York animal control officer’s Long Island home was part of an illegal business. Richard Parrinello was selling snakes, turtles, and even tarantulas out of his garage, police found after raiding the man’s home.
The discovery was made accidentally while investigating Parrinello over possible disability fraud. This can probably be credited to Parrinello’s lack of secrecy about his illegal business. CNN reports that authorities linked him with his online website, “Snakeman’s Exotics,” which advertised a variety of snakes and reptiles for sale in the US and abroad. Investigators working undercover also say that Parrinello boasted a reptile collection worth $500,000 total.
As if authorities needed any more certainty that they had found the “Snakeman” of Long Island, Parrinello kept two large vans in his driveway with vanity license plates reading “SNAKEVAN” and “SSSSNAKE,” according to Salon.
The 850 snakes found in the New York man’s home and garage included a number of exotic pythons, boa constrictors, and hognose snakes. Authorities say they also found Burmese pythons, which are outlawed in New York. In addition to the “livestock,” Parrinello also had several freezers filled with dead mice and even alligator meat.
Chief of the Suffolk County SPCA, Roy Gross, says that the snakes were found in tidy cages stored in his temperature-controlled garage. Gross says that no indications have been found of animal abuse or neglect. He added that because of New York state laws, the Burmese pythons were taken to a reptile shelter in Massachusetts.
The Long Island man was not arrested or charged with criminal activity. However, running an unregistered businesses out of a residence is violates town code. Authorities say Parrinello will be issued fines of up to $250 for each of the 850 snakes found in his home and may face other fines.
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