Man ad­mits hav­ing ven­omous snakes

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - MARY­LAND BY MARTIN WEIL martin.weil@wash­post.com

A man pleaded guilty in a Mary­land court last week af­ter a search of his home turned up six rat­tlesnakes and two co­bras, author­i­ties said.

Bran­don Joseph Boyles, 29, of Cas­cade, Md., was pro­hib­ited from own­ing “dan­ger­ous an­i­mals” in Mary­land and was re­quired by a judge in Washington County to per­form 20 hours of com­mu­nity service, the Mary­land Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice said.

He pleaded guilty May 8 to two counts of il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of ven­omous snakes, the po­lice said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice, Boyles has been known on so­cial me­dia as “VenomMan20.”

On Feb. 22, his home was searched by of­fi­cers from the Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice, who found six western di­a­mond­back rat­tlesnakes, a seven-foot-long for­est co­bra and a Cape Co­ral co­bra, the po­lice agency said.

Two boom­slang snakes were also found, the po­lice said.

The boom­slang, less well known than the co­bra or rat­tlesnake, has large eyes and lives in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

All the snakes found were po­ten­tially fa­tal to hu­mans, the Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice said.

In a state­ment, the state author­i­ties said that in the search in Fe­bru­ary, of­fi­cers found snakes housed in im­prop­erly se­cured plas­tic bins and two dead snakes in a freezer.

The po­lice said that the snakes lacked fresh wa­ter and that one bin was dirty.

In their state­ment, the po­lice said Boyles had left a job at the Ca­toctin Wildlife Pre­serve and Zoo in Septem­ber 2017, tak­ing with him five ven­omous snakes that he owned.

It was le­gal to keep the snakes at the zoo, the po­lice said. How­ever, they said, Boyles had no per­mit to have them at home.

When he left the zoo, the po­lice said, he also took with him other an­i­mals he owned: three al­li­ga­tors and a croc­o­dile.

Those an­i­mals, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, were trans­ferred last year to a rep­tile con­ser­va­tion cen­ter.

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