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Police round up 40 snakes dumped in Arkansas Walmart parking lot

By Ben Hooper

April 26 (UPI) -- Police in Arkansas responded to a Walmart where they rounded up about 40 snakes someone apparently dumped in the parking lot.

Paragould Police Detective Jack Hailey said officers responded Sunday night to the Walmart store in Paragould on a report of multiple snakes slithering around the parking lot.

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Witnesses posted warnings on Facebook for people to avoid the parking lot due to the presence of snakes that were initially feared venomous, but Hailey said the fears turned out to be unfounded.

"At first, they were saying the snakes were copperheads and water moccasins," Hailey told KAIT-TV. "But, after we got one of our officers who is apparently some sort of snake whisperer, we learned that they were non-venomous garden snakes."

Hailey said it appeared as though someone had captured the up to 40 snakes and dumped them in the parking lot.

"They were either herding the snakes when they were frog gigging or something," Hailey said. "Either way, they were collecting them for this reason and I don't think that was the best thing to do at all. Especially, those out there with a phobia."

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"[Venomous] or not, it is dangerous when you put snakes in a busy area," Hailey said. "It could cause a panic with people trying to get away."

He said police do not plan to charge anyone for the snake dumping, but he warned similar pranks could lead to charges.

"At the minimum, you could look at disorderly conduct of causing alarm to a public place, but if you look at the bigger picture, is someone was trying to get away from them and got hurt in any sort of way, those charges could easily increase," Hailey said. "Your actions resulted in someone getting hurt and we don't want that at all."

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