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Authorities find 850 illegal snakes in animal control officer’s home

Posted by Sonja K. at 9/19/2013 8:50:43 PM

New York state and county authorities say that a Long Island animal control officer was illegally housing and selling hundreds of snakes and other reptiles from his own home.

Newsday reports that Richard Parrinello, 44, reportedly kept 850 snakes in his Brookhaven garage, including two 6-foot-long Burmese pythons, which are illegal in the state.

Unofficial estimates say the entire collection of snakes, turtles and tarantulas is worth about $500,000.

Deputy town attorney David J. Moran said authorities made the discovery while probing whether Parrinello was committing workers’ compensation fraud.

He had also been running a website, since suspended, called Snake Man Exotics.

Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said the two pythons will be removed from the residence and sent to an out-of-state sanctuary. However, the fate of the rest of the reptiles remains undecided.

“I’d never seen so many snakes in one place before, even in a zoo,” Gross told the New York Post. “We were called in to see whether there was an animal cruelty or neglect [but] the animals appeared to be healthy and well-cared for,” he told the Post.

Gross told a local CBS affiliate that the pythons were being handled separately from the other reptiles, because they are particularly dangerous. He noted that two escaped pythons in Canada recently strangled to death a pair of young children.

Parrinello, who owns two vehicles with vanity plates reading “SNAKEVAN” and “SSSSNAKE,” is reportedly cooperating with officles from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.

He is likely to lose his job with the county if he is found guilty of illegally housing and selling the creatures.

Long Island has made recent efforts to convince individuals to hand over illegally owned reptiles, including hosting a Reptile Amnesty Day after more than a dozen baby alligators were discovered in the wild.


Link to article

 Comments: View Oldest First  

Posted At: 9/19/2013 8:55:14 PM  

Just about to post this.  I don't know much about him, but it's still sad.  I hope nothing happens to the rest of the snakes--the only illegal ones were the burms, and the others were (obviously) well-kept.  Good luck Parinello.

Sonja K. ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:03:20 PM  

(In the following it says the Pythons will be sent to an out of state sanctuary... I assume they are referring to the Burms (?) Can they do that with the Lacey Act?)


A Brookhaven Town animal control officer illegally sold hundreds of snakes and other reptiles from garages at his Shirley home, authorities said Thursday.

Town and Suffolk County officers who raided the home of Richard Parrinello on Thursday found 850 snakes in a garage inside the house and in a detached two-car garage, officials said. Parrinello, 44, was cooperating with investigators, they said.

Among the creatures found were two 6-foot Burmese pythons, which are illegal in New York.

The discovery grew out of a workers' compensation fraud investigation into whether Parrinello was working while on disability leave from his town job, said deputy town attorney David J. Moran.

Parrinello, an animal control officer, had claimed earlier this year that he could not work because of carpal tunnel syndrome in his hands and wrists, town officials said.

Parrinello faces possible termination pending a hearing, town officials said.

He faces multiple charges of owning the pythons and violating town codes by running a business at his home and without a permit.

The pythons will be removed from the home and sent to an out-of-state animal sanctuary, said Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk SPCA.

Authorities on Thursday afternoon could not say what would happen to the other animals. Officials were making an inventory of the animals to determine whether they would be removed from the house.

Michael ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:10:17 PM  

I know that Guy !!!!!!!!

Michael ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:13:24 PM  

he sells  mostly Boas and ball pythons  I didn't know  that it was illegal to have  snakes on long island   so he had 2 illegal snaes  and 848 legal ones ???

Bethany ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:20:59 PM  


Aimee ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:33:59 PM  

"He noted that two escaped pythons in Canada recently strangled to death a pair of young children."

^so we're all to assume his 6-foot burms would do this if they got out....

Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:36:05 PM  

Uhg, everything about that article makes me sick.

Knowing groups like the spca most will be euthanized

Aimee ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:36:05 PM  

it's not a shock. there was guy here who used to work with Snohomish county cops (just north of Seattle area). he presented himself as a 501c3 rescue center. cops took him along on busts where herps needed to be confiscated. within days he was selling them at the backdoor of local pet stores.

I wrote letters and made calls trying to turn this guy in, and got nowhere. in so many ways, the system just doesn't give a bacon if you're talking about exotics.

and...if you're in Snohomish Co., please NEVER support Forgotten Kingdoms. the guy's a crook.

Aimee ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:36:43 PM  

oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, he was NOT a 501c3.

Michael ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:40:52 PM  

This guy was a legit breeder and had some high end stuff   albino lepord boa's ,  albino pied ball pythons ..  all kinds of nice  stuff .. It would be a shame  if they took all his animals  for having burmese pythons .. 

Aimee ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:44:26 PM  

oh, I see. the animals weren't illegal; that he was doing it while collecting worker's comp is illegal. am I understanding this right?

bummer on him, then.

Michael ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:45:56 PM  

I have no idea why he is being charged or with what .. A few of my friends  have done lot's of business with him  and they never said he did anything shady ..

George H. Wessel VII,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 9:49:58 PM  

Aecian Wandel,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 11:04:49 PM  

I don't understand this. If he's taking good care of them then what's the problem? Doesn't seem like a bad guy to me. 

Mike ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 11:26:08 PM  

Sounds like a man with a passion.

Aimee ,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 11:29:32 PM  

if you follow the first embedded link, that's where it says his selling is illegal because of the worker's comp thing. it's not the animals themselves except the burms, from what I can read in these articles?

Jen Pagram,
Posted At: 9/19/2013 11:36:26 PM  

Poor guy- but also collecting workers comp like that I can see how it would put his job in jeopardy if he was collecting that but making money on the side.  Plus, I can see how having carpal tunnel would make it kind of hard to open and close a ton of tubs, so they could definitely argue if that he could do that he could work?

I hope he does not lose both his job and collection - confiscating his perfectly legal snakes would be wrong .  Sounds like he needs a good lawyer.

Niki ,
Posted At: 9/20/2013 1:25:58 AM  

Doesn't matter how well he took care of his snakes, this person was in a position to *know* the laws in his area.

In turn makes us look bad.

Sonja ,
Posted At: 9/20/2013 7:21:23 AM  

Running a business out of his home in a residential area was the illegal part, plus the 2 burms.  The rest of the snakes are legal to have, just not to run a business out of his home.

Chris Myers,
Posted At: 9/20/2013 11:19:55 AM  

"He noted that two escaped pythons in Canada recently strangled to death a pair of young children."

^ So now it was TWO African Rock Pythons??

Aaron Florian,
Posted At: 9/20/2013 11:20:49 AM  

It's was a gang ... the Bloods i think.

Beth ,
Posted At: 9/20/2013 2:45:39 PM  

It all started with disability fraud, they suspected something and have been following him for months, possibly even attending expos.  He lives pretty close to me, met him a few times and he seemed nice. Actually, he had come to my place last year since we had a rooster, which is not legal to own in my area.  We didn't know that fact, but he was very nice about giving us time to find the roo a home.

When my BF and I were coming home and saw all of those police, SPCA, and public safety vehicles driving into my neighborhood, we 'joked' about how much it would suck if they were heading to our house because of the geckos (don't have anything illegal but it seems like the gov is on a witch hunt for herps).

From what I've heard, it's more than just running the business and all of those snakes that they got him on.  Either way, anyone in the area should be extra careful for a little while, they're probably monitoring all of the popular herp sites to try to crack down on more people. 

Solana ,
Posted At: 9/20/2013 5:41:04 PM  

Well he's an idiot for having the 2 illegal ones, but don't understand why they'd consider confiscating the rest of them if they are well cared for.  If it's a matter of running a business out of his home, fine him and give him a deadline to get the business moved.  Wouldn't confiscate a stylist chair if someone was caught running a hair salon in the garage, so I don't see why this would be different.  

Niki ,
Posted At: 10/4/2013 8:13:35 PM  

George H. Wessel VII,
Posted At: 10/4/2013 8:44:21 PM  

Wow. Good news.

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