SHIRLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — More than 800 snakes — including a pair of 6-foot Burmese pythons — were found Thursday in two garages at the home of an animal control officer in Shirley, Long Island, authorities said.
Richard Parrinello, 44, who worked for the Town of Brookhaven, was selling the slithery creatures while he was collecting disability from his job, officials said. He does not face any criminal charges, but he was issued summonses for running an illegal business out of his home and illegal converting his garage.
Wildlife officials told CBS 2 that the commercial value of the snakes was about $500,000.
The Burmese pythons are illegal to own in New York state, Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. He said the snakes tend to grow to 15 to 18 feet long, and as large as 30 feet.
“There’s a reason why they’re illegal,” Gross said. “I can only say that I recommend that people do not get them in the first place. They do not make good pets. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Gross cited an incident last month in New Brunswick, Canada, in which an African rock python escaped from its enclosure and strangled two boys, ages 5 and 7, while they slept.
Police say the reptiles were discovered while authorities were investigating whether Parrinello, who is married with children, was violating Brookhaven town codes while out of work on disability, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
The snakes were in good health, authorities said. Only the two Burmese pythons are being brought to a wildlife reserve in Massachusetts, but the rest of the snakes remained at the home with Parrinello while authorities determine where to send them next.
Authorities say Parrinello is cooperating. It was not clear if he has an attorney, and a phone listing for Parrinello could not immediately be located.
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