Caged rats removed from Struthers "snake store" - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Caged rats removed from Struthers "snake store"

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STRUTHERS, Ohio - Bonds are set for a Struthers couple facing charges after more than 100 snakes were found slithering in containers and roaming free throughout their home.

A judge set bonds at $6,000 for both Joseph McCollum, 46, and Michele Barrett, 45, on Tuesday.

Both McCollum and Barrett face child endangering charges of the 4th degree and charges of violating regulations on ownership and sale of exotic animals.

The two are owners of The Boa Store, an online store that sells snakes.

Reptiles were discovered throughout almost every room of their home last week including pythons, boa constrictors, an African tree snake, a diamond back rattlesnake, a king cobra, a Gila monster, a monitor lizard and iguanas, among others.

During last week's search, authorities even found snakes in the bedroom of the couple's son.

The boy is now in the care of relatives.

Police say they found the snakes while conducting a welfare check on McCollum, who was bit by a venomous diamond back rattlesnake.  

An inspector from the Mahoning County health department and Struthers police went back to the Fifth Street home Tuesday to remove rats and cockroaches.

The potential snake's prey was hauled away to Herps Alive Foundation in Cleveland Heights. 

"I didn't know he had that many and I didn't know he had poisonous snakes," Don Wilson says, the couple's nearby neighbor. "My concern is, is there anything left in the house?"

Police left behind traps just incase a stray rat was left behind. Lewis tells 21 News his department is still in the process of investigating how the online business was operated.

"If there's any correspondence that he (McCollum) was shipping venomous snakes, we had heard he may have been false labeling them as other things and sending them that way, then we have to turn that over to the federal authorities," Detective Jeff Lewis says, Struthers police.

Lewis says additional charges are likely, including some possibly drug related after drug paraphernalia was found in the house.

The snakes removed from the house last week are also in the care of Herps Foundation. Four poisonous snakes are now living at the Kentucky reptile zoo.

 

 

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