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Authorities find more than 150 snakes in Struthers home

Published: Fri, October 11, 2013 @ 10:00 p.m.

Authorities find more than 150 snakes in Struthers home


Animal control officer Dave Nelson has seen a lot over his career. But serving a search warrant late Friday afternoon may have put the icing on the cake.

Nelson, of the Mahoning County Dog Warden’s Office, said more than 150 snakes were found inside the home at 438 Fifth Street.

Nelson said among the breeds of snakes were cobras, rattlesnakes and African tree snakes, all of which are poisonous. He said he has dealt with those types of snakes from time to time, but never has he dealt with that many in one location.

“The basement is filled with tub after tub of snakes,” Nelson said. “I’ve never seen them in this type of mass quantities.”

The snakes’ owner, Joseph McCollum, 46, will face charges of keeping exotic animals and child endangering because a 12-year-old child lives in the home, Nelson said.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Vindicator or vindy.com


1Pyroc(130 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if the "child endangering" charge is really necessary. I'm willing to bet the 12 year old knows way more about Snakes and Reptiles than most "Experts" in Zoo's.

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2NoBS(2653 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Well, no wonder Washington DC is at am impasse - with all these snakes here, there's nobody left in the capitol!!!

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3southsidedave(5183 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Make a reality series - another mindless show on TV, perfect stuff

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4gordy850(22 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

That's unreal. Why is it that all the real crime stories are uncovered by agencies from outside the city. It doesn't seem like the Struthers Police Dept. is on the job in their own town, now its these snakes, and don't forget the Teddy story?? Just a sleepy little town.

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5kensgirl(1037 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

What type of person would keep snakes like this? Obviously this guy has the "little man" syndrome. He needs snakes to make him feel masculine. Another nut job among us. BTW-Struthers isn't the only place these nut jobs live. They're everywhere anymore. Just read the Vindy.

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6reallytired(84 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Het gordy850,, read the story,, it was uncovered by the SPD,, they were assisted by the other agencies,,

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7JJLew(2 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

You are correct, although the article is misleading, the police were there doing a welfare check. After being invited in we observed the illegal & dangerous operation and generated reports. Detectives obtained a search warrant from the Struthers Court, and began coordinating a joint effort with the ODNR Wildlife Agents, Herps Alive Foundation, and the Dept. of Agriculture. The only people that handled the dangerous snakes were the Wildlife Agents and the Owner of Herps Foundation. We and the Dog Warden carried out a few cages, but the Wildlife agents and Herps did all the dangerous work. It is unfortunate that the source of this article did not credit the correct people.

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8Roger_Thornhill(1046 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I think the Struthers PD did a good job with this. They found out about the situation, investigated, got the warrant, coordinated getting people to do the search and took action.

AND, there were no more injuries (after the owner got bit before the police were even involved) and the snakes ,lizards etc were removed and sent to rescue instead of being killed.

What more could they have done?

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9kensgirl(1037 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I still ask- what the hell was this guy doing with multiple deadly snakes? What if one got loose and killed somebody? A child would be defenseless. Throw the book at this guy. Or better yet put HIM in a room with his own snakes. Then we'll see how manly he really is. Good police work and good work by other investigating authorities.

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10Fabian(2 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

To point out a misconception,
Poison is only effective if ingested orally or absorbed; venom, on the other hand, is always injected. So snakes are not poisonous, but they can be venomous.

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11DLF(1 comment)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Their are many exotic animals in private hands, snakes are very easy to have as they do not take allot of space, they are sold for big bucks, with the economy the way it is, people are looking for other alternatives to making money, it is sad that these reptiles are used in this manner. In most instances, people who do this do not care if the animals could pose a danger to others, they just care about the money, even possibly drugs they will gain from it. I think ODNR will be overwhelmed once the new State law is put into effect in Jan. 2014, many have not registered their exotics, some people do not know about the new laws.

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