He may not be a cold-hearted snake, but Irish American exotic pet dealer Joseph McCollum was arrested after police found more than 100 snakes – some venomous – stored in his house. The Struthers, Ohio man was in violation of the state’s new law requiring a permit to own dangerous or exotic animals.
McCollum’s hoard of dangerous animals came to light on Oct. 11 when he went to a local emergency room complaining that he had been bitten by a venomous rattlesnake.
McCollum is the owner of the Boa Store, which sells and ships snakes across the country.
Police went to the home McCollum shares with his girlfriend, Michelle Barrett and his 12-year-old son, and discovered 97 non-venomous snakes as well as a few venomous ones stored in aquariums and plastic containers. Some of the snakes were stored in the boy’s bedroom. Police also found some non-reptilian animals on the premises.
“There were also a lot of rats - for feeding purposes," Struthers Police Detective Jeff Lewis told Reuters.
“We were shocked at the inventory of snakes he had. They were floor to ceiling,” he added.
McCollum appeared in Struthers municipal court, where he pleaded not guilty to illegally selling and auctioning animals. He is scheduled to appear in court this week to faces child endangerment charges.
The Ohio law was passed after an incident in 2011 when an exotic pet owner released nearly 50 large cats, bears and lions before committing suicide. Public panic ensued and police were forced to kill the animals.