Deadly Snakes, Alligators Discovered in Reptile Bust


Thousand Oaks - Authorities seized dozens of risky and highly regulated reptiles from a Los Angeles area home.

A neighbor alerted authorities after a cobra escaped the house and was found slithering across the property of the adjacent house.

Hoping to avoid another incident, animal control officers and local authorities served search warrants Thursday morning on a property in Thousand Oaks and a rural address just outside the city limits.

The county's Department of Animal Care and Control, which was working with other agencies, said it recently discovered that a restricted species permit holder was possibly in violation of his or her permit conditions to possess "dozens of very risky and highly regulated species of reptiles".

When officers entered the home, they found a nest full of poisonous snakes, reptiles, and a pool of eight alligators. While he has some permits for the animals, the Los Angeles Times reports that the man was illegally hoarding them.

Sgt. Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said they arrested Kates after searching the property and recovering around 84 snakes.

The snakes were removed from the property and placed in bins. The snake was eventually sent to the San Diego Zoo, where it went on exhibit a few months later.

"We have great concerns for the safety of the public and animals in this area", Mayetta said.

Mayeda noted that approximately 100 venomous snakes, of various species - including monocled and spitting cobras, and rattlesnakes - were seized at the two properties. Video from the scene earlier showed a man in handcuffs being escorted away from the property by authorities.

It was not immediately clear if criminal charges would be filed. Officials would determine later where the animals would go next.