A Long Island animal control officer was found keeping about 850 snakes in his home on Thursday, two of which were 6-foot Burmese pythons - all part of an illegal reptile sales operation. The snakes were all housed in the two garages of Richard Parinello, 44, of Shirley, New York.
The Burmese pythons, which can grow to 30 feet long, are illegal in New York state. Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross called the snakes "an accident waiting to happen," and stated that "there is a reason why Burmese pythons are illegal", while relating the deaths of two young boys in Canada, who were recently suffocated by an African rock python, as they'd slept.
Shirley spokesman Jack Krieger stated that Parinello has worked unsteadily as an animal control officer since 1988, and that authorities found the snakes while checking to see if Parinello was working while on disability leave. The snakes were kept in a very orderly fashion, under the right conditions, and no signs of animal cruelty were evident. The pythons were transferred to a sanctuary in Massachusetts.
Parinello's snake business had a website at snakemanexotics.com, which has since been taken down, and he faces several charges, including harboring the pythons, and running a business out of his home without a permit.
The Burmese python has been classified as an invasive species in the Florida Everglades, as a breeding colony had been established there in the late 1970's. the pythons are popular pets, and would get loose - they've since thrived in the Floridian environment. The snakes now number anywhere between 5,000 and 180,000 in the Everglades, and the National Park Service created a policy to remove and euthanize them immediately.
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