An animal control officer running a snake breeding business on the side was busted in Long Island on Thursday, after authorities entered his Shirley home and found a remarkable 850 serpents within.
Animal control officer Richard Parinello, 44, was a purveyor of fine snakes through his now-defunct Snake Man Exotics website — including Burmese pythons, a massive and invasive species currently banned in the US.
Authorities confiscated two six-foot-long Burmese pythons from his property, reports Reuters, alongside hundreds of others contraband reptiles. Burmese pythons, already a scourge in Florida, recently made headlines in Canada after an escaped specimen killed two young boys.
Parinello is likely to be punished both for harboring dangerous animals and for continuing to collect a salary for a job he had claimed he could not attend due to a carpal tunnel disability, according to Long Island Newsday.
“What makes this case especially egregious is that this individual was allegedly operating this reptile business out of his home, posing an unknown threat to the neighbors of this community – while collecting a taxpayer funded salary for a town job that he claimed he could not show up for because of medical reasons,” said Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine to the Long Island Press.
The pythons are slated to be sent to an animal sanctuary, says Reuters, while the future of the other snakes isn't known at this time.