Investigators say animal control officer had 850 snakes

Sept. 20, 2013 at 1:18 AM
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SHIRLEY, N.Y., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- An animal control officer in Brookhaven, N.Y., had 850 live snakes in his garage along with tarantulas and juvenile turtles, officials said Thursday.

Richard Parrinello, who lives in Shirley on Long Island, was given tickets for possession of two 6-foot Burmese pythons, Newsday reported. The snakes, which can grow to be around 20 feet long, are illegal to own in New York without a permit.

He was also ticketed for illegal possession of alligator parts.

Parrinello could also be charged with running an exotic animal business from his home without a permit, authorities said. Newsday said he operates SnakeMan's Exotics and had two vans in his driveway with vanity plates that said "SNAKEMAN" AND "SSSSNAKE."

The raid Thursday was a result of an investigation into allegations Parrinello was collecting disability payments while working another job. He went on medical leave from his Brookhaven job in May on the grounds of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Investigators said most of Parrinello's animals can be owned legally and seemed to be healthy and well cared for. But Roy Gross, who heads the Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he found the contents of Parrinello's garage astonishing.

"I personally have never seen this many reptiles in one area," he said.

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