SANTA ANA, Calif. — Police arrested an Orange County elementary school teacher Wednesday after finding hundreds of dead and decaying pythons in his home.
Officers made the discovery in the 2900 block of Fernwood Drive while serving a search warrant, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. Bertagna said he was standing more than 100 yards from the home as officers searched it, and the strong stench smelled like “death.”
“In excess of 300 to 400″ snakes, all believed to be pythons, were found “in various stages of decay,” Bertagna told KTLA. “There’s also rats and mice. The standard of the care and feeding of these snakes is not up to par.”
The owner of the house, William Buchman, 53, was arrested on charges of animal cruelty.
Neighbors had been complaining to police about a stench at the house in the 2900 block of Fernwood Drive for several months.
“We thought someone was dead,” Forest Long Sr., 62, who lives next door, told the Los Angeles Times. “We couldn’t open up the bedroom windows. My wife started to gag and throw up.”
Long said Buchman is a teacher at Mariners Elementary School in Newport Beach and had become increasingly reclusive after his mother died a few years ago. He said neighbors knew that Buchman raised snakes and that a delivery man regularly brought mice to the house.
Read more at latimes.com.