A California man has been arrested after police were called to his home over a putrid stench that was making the neighbors sick, and authorities say over 300 pythons--many of them dead--were found in plastic bins throughout the house.
"The smell alone — I feel like I need to take a shower for a week," Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "They're pretty much in all the bedrooms — everywhere."
53-year old William Buchman, an elementary school teacher in Newport Beach, is said to have become a bit lonely since the death of his mother but kept mostly to himself. His neighbors recall seeing several deliveries of mice come to the home and knew he had several snakes, but had no idea of the staggering number he had collected.
"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."
When the stench began to get overwhelming, the neighbors say they were afraid it was the decay of a human body.
"We thought someone was dead," said 62-year old Forest Long Sr.. "We couldn't open up the bedroom windows. My wife started to gag and throw up."
Officials say that all but two of the snakes were dead when they conducted a search of the home; police and animal control officers have tried to gain access before, but Buchman refused to cooperate. After a month-long investigation, he was served with a search warrant. He now faces several felony charges of animal cruelty.
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