VA Man Found Dead Surrounded by 24 Venomous Pet Snakes - Legally Weird
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

VA Man Found Dead Surrounded by 24 Venomous Pet Snakes

A Virginia man was found dead in his home after apparently being bitten by one of his pet venomous snakes.

Authorities believe that 70-year-old Jack Redmond naturalist was bitten by a Chinese palm viper and succumbed to complications from the bite, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Chinese palm viper was just one of 24 venomous snakes that Redmond kept in his collection. The man was found by his wife and he had traces of a snake bite on his finger. Redmond had been battling prostate cancer, and it's believed that his weakened state may have contributed to his death.

So what's the legal lesson here? Follow the law, and you won't get bitten by a poisonous snake.

A county or town will enact a variety of laws to protect the health and safety of its residents. In the County of Chesterfield, Virginia, there is an ordinance that prohibits the possession of venomous snakes and/or "wild and exotic animals," reports the Times-Dispatch.

The law is seemingly in place to protect innocent members of the public from escaped animals as well as pet owners who are in over their heads.

Redmond allegedly did not follow the law and kept the 24 venomous snakes in violation of the ordinance. While the naturalist is believed to have taken very good care of the snakes, and may even have experience taking care of venomous reptiles, this did not excuse his defiance of the law.

Investigators believe that Redmond was bitten while he was cleaning the cage or during feeding of the snake, reports the Times-Dispatch. Snake poisoning is relatively rare in this country, and the Director of the Virginia Poison Center believes this is only the second snake-bite death in the last 35 or 40 years.

Even seemingly dumb laws are in place for a reason. Certain snakes and animals are considered dangerous. If local government authorities have gone so far as to outlaw keeping certain animals as pets, you should trust their judgment.

Related Resources: