A Newburgh resident was found on Tuesday, June 4, with over 150 snakes in his basement, after authorities were dispatched to his home.
In a statement from Maureen Wren of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), members from the Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), the Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI) unit, and the DEC “executed a search warrant” at the man’s home after they were “alerted by Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx that a man had been bitten by a poisonous snake.” His name has not been released by the DEC to the public.
The man had gone to Jacobi Medical Center on Sunday, June 2, after he was bitten by a “venomous Asian pit viper” that was in his possession. According to the DEC, he “received five doses of antivenom” and was subsequently released on Monday, June 3.
ECOs went to the man’s residence in the city of Newburgh with the search warrant on Tuesday, June 4. According to the DEC, officers found 157 snakes in his basement upon arrival. The man did not have the required license that would make ownership of these snakes lawful. It is illegal in the state of New York for an individual to have ownership of venomous snakes without a license. Venomous snakes “are only licensed for educational or exhibition purposes,” said the DEC in their statement.
Staff from the Bronx Zoo were at the man’s residence on Tuesday, helping the ECOs in counting the snakes and removing them. The snakes will be kept at the zoo for now as the case remains under investigation.
The City of Newburgh Police Department did not respond to immediate requests for comment.
If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).