North Carolina owner of venomous snakes facing charges

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina man whose venomous snake escaped from his home and terrorized a neighborhood for several days is facing multiple misdemeanor charges, authorities said.

The Raleigh man is facing 40 charges in connection to his escaped zebra cobra and other venomous snakes kept in the basement of his parents’ home, news outlets reported.

His cobra was reported outside a home about a half-mile from his on June 28, and captured by Raleigh animal control officers the following Wednesday. Before it was captured, officials warned anyone who saw the snake to stay away and call 911, saying it could spit and bite if cornered.

One of the misdemeanor charges says the man did not notify law enforcement of the snake’s escape, as required by state law. Another 36 misdemeanor counts accuse him of keeping venomous snakes in improper enclosures, and three misdemeanor charges involve snakes in containers that were mislabeled.

Venomous snakes are legal to own in North Carolina, but they must be kept in escape-proof, bite-proof enclosures and owners must notify law enforcement if one escapes.

So far, police have not commented on when the man’s snake escaped or if any snakes were removed from his home.

The man referred questions to his attorney Anna Felts, who said her client is stressed. The man has expressed remorse and understands the danger a zebra cobra on the loose posed to neighbors, she said.

Felts confirmed that 75 other snakes, some of them venomous, were seized from the man’s home last week. She could not say whether he would try to get the snakes back.