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Published On: Fri, Jan 31st, 2014

California man, William Buchman, arrested after hundreds of snakes found in home

A California school teacher was arrested after police discovered over 300 pythons, some dead, inside of his home on Southern California.

William Buchman, a teacher at Mariners Elementary School in Newport Beach, was detained on charges of animal cruelty, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.

photo And0283

photo And0283

Over 400 snakes and snake carcasses were found in cages throughout the home in an environment that Santa Ana police said smelled “god-awful.”

More than half of the snakes were found dead, police said. They had not been fed and were covered in mites, police said.

About 240 dead snakes and 182 live snakes were found in the home.

Veterinarians examined the living snakes to see if they were in dire health.

“None of them have been really bad that I have seen so far,” veterinarian Tom Greek said. “Some of them could use a little food.”

Animal services officers wore special suits and masks to process the scene.

“There are all forms of decay,” said Sondra Berg, an animal services supervisor at the Santa Ana Police Department. “From skeletons to just dead in the last few days. There is an infestation of rats and mice. They are running loose all over the house. There are rats and mice in plastic storage tubs that are actually canabalizing each other.”

Animal control first received complaints about the home one year ago when neighbors suspected Buchman was breeding snakes. At the time the snakes were healthy and animal services did not have a violation to allow them to seize the animals.

Four months ago, police and animal services were notified of a dead body smell coming from the home. After it was determined that it was actually a dead animal smell, animal services sought Buchman’s cooperation to allow for a search of the home. When he refused, a warrant was obtained.

“This is a major case of neglect,” said Sam Makki, executive director of Reptile Rescue Orange County. “It is all very sad. These snakes are completely harmless and make great pets, but it is clear that the owner hardly provided any care for them.”

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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