SHIRLEY, N.Y. A Long Island animal control officer had hundreds of snakes, including two 6-foot Burmese pythons, at his home, where he ran an illegal side business selling the animals, authorities said Thursday.
Officials said there were 850 snakes in two garages at the Shirley, N.Y., home of Richard Parinello, 44, including the Burmese pythons, which are illegal in New York state.
"There is a reason why Burmese pythons are illegal," said Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross, citing the deaths of two young boys in New Brunswick, Canada who were killed by an African rock python while they slept last month.
Gross said Burmese pythons can grow to 30 feet long and are "an accident waiting to happen."
Parinello has worked on and off as an animal control officer for the town of Brookhaven since 1988, town spokesman Jack Krieger said.
Authorities spotted the snakes during an investigation into whether Parinello was working while on disability leave from his town job.
Parinello faces multiple charges of owning the pythons and violating town codes by running a business at his home without a permit.
Authorities said Parinello he is cooperating. It was not clear if he had an attorney, and a phone listing for Parinello could not immediately be located.
Krieger said Parinello's snake business had a website, www.snakemanexotics.com. It had been taken down by Thursday afternoon.
Gross said the pythons were headed to an animal sanctuary in Massachusetts. It was not clear what would be done with the other snakes.