Police uncover venomous snakes and exotic snake store - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Updated

Police uncover venomous snakes and exotic snake store in Struthers home

Posted: Updated:

STRUTHERS, Ohio - The owners of an online store that sells snakes are under arrest for child endangering.

Between 150 to 200 snakes, including those that are venomous, were found inside a home at 438 Fifth Street where Joseph McCollum and Michele Barrett live with their 12-year-old son.

The reptiles found included pythons, boa constrictors, an African tree snake, a diamond back rattlesnake, a king cobra, a cobra, a Gila monster, a monitor lizard and iguanas, among others.

Police say they found the snakes while conducting a welfare check on McCollum, who was bit by a venomous diamond back rattlesnake.  According to police, he left without getting the proper treatment so they were sent to check on him. 

McCollum and Barrett run The Boa Store, an online store that sells boa constrictors.

21 News spoke with neighbor George Garltic who says he was not worried because most of the snakes were kept in containers and didn't get loose. However, a free roaming snake was found loose in the upstairs bedroom.

"Every room except for the kitchen and the bathroom are the only two rooms that didn't have any snakes at all but right next to the bed, there were snakes in the little boys room or whatever that room is. There was at least 30 of them in there," said Mahoning County Deputy Dog Warden Dave Nelson.

Nelson said ODNR wildlife agents were trying to identify the reptiles Friday night but it was difficult because the snakes colors change when they are interchanged. He said agents would know more about the type of reptile when the agents got back to the office

By having the snakes in the home, detectives say the two suspects violated two city ordinances: running the business from their home and owning exotic animals. They also failed to post signage warning of dangerous animals, which violates a state law.

"It's definitely a serious danger. There's a lot of kids in this neighborhood. The houses are very close together. It is a duplex apartment as well," said Struthers Police Detective Jeff Lewis.

The Herps Alive! Foundation, an organization that seeks to provide a dedicated reptile rescue facility for all of Northeast Ohio, is working with state wildlife agents to remove and house the snakes.  Nelson said that the venomous reptiles would be going to a sanctuary in Kentucky.

McCollum was being treated at St. Elizabeth's in Youngstown.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Ocean crash kills teen pilot seeking world record

    Ocean crash kills teen pilot seeking world record

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:03:01 GMT
    A family spokeswoman says an Indiana teenager was killed when his plane crashed while trying to set a record for an around-the-world flight.More >>
    His pilot's license fresh in his hands, an Indiana teenager set out in June for the adventure of a lifetime: an around-the-world flight with his father designed to break a record and raise money to build schools in his...More >>
  • Ohio veteran cited for ducks hopes for law change

    Ohio veteran cited for ducks hopes for law change

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:56 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:56:55 GMT
    COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) - An Army veteran who says his pet ducks help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder is now hoping for a change in the Ohio village law that prohibits him from keeping the animals in his backyard. Darin Welker, who served in the Army National Guard, was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in West Lafayette. The village is about 80 miles east of Columbus. Welker and his attorney said Wednesday that village officials are considering the possibility of a n...More >>
    COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) - An Army veteran who says his pet ducks help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder is now hoping for a change in the Ohio village law that prohibits him from keeping the animals in his backyard. Darin Welker, who served in the Army National Guard, was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in West Lafayette. The village is about 80 miles east of Columbus. Welker and his attorney said Wednesday that village officials are considering the possibility of a n...More >>
  • More than 500 migrant children sent to Pa.

    More than 500 migrant children sent to Pa.

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:31:15 GMT
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border. State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Womelsdorf, near Reading. Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare says the other 386 youngsters are staying with ...More >>
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border. State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Womelsdorf, near Reading. Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare says the other 386 youngsters are staying with ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms