Originally created 04/02/04

Exhibit keeper is cited in reptile mistreatment



BEAUFORT, S.C. - There were some pretty dirty snakes at a Beaufort Fair last weekend.

A North Carolina man was charged with 11 counts of ill treatment of an animal after deputies in the coastal South Carolina city seized six cold iguanas and five filthy Burmese pythons.

One of the snakes, a 21-foot-long python weighing 350 pounds, was so large it took eight people to carry him away.

Some of the reptiles had been offered as prizes at the fair.

Deputy Beverly Bush, of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, went to the fair after a caller reported seeing unhealthy animals at the reptile exhibit Saturday.

When she entered the exhibit, Deputy Bush saw six iguanas in one cage.

"The cage was extremely dirty, displaying feces in the drains and covering the floor of the cage," she wrote in a police report.

The iguanas were brown instead of green, apparently because they were too cold, the report said.

"I was concerned that they were being deprived of necessary warmth," Deputy Bush said in her report. "The general health of the iguanas was well below satisfactory."

Three albino Burmese pythons were in three cages nearby. Their water was dirty and low, the cages were filthy, and the snakes were not moving, Deputy Bush reported.

The veterinarian for the Beaufort County Animal Shelter inspected the exhibit and agreed that the conditions were inadequate.

The reptiles were seized and taken to the animal shelter.

The keeper, Richard Alan Hollander, 34, of Lenoir, N.C., was cited on 11 counts of ill treatment of an animal. A court date was set for April 13.

The six iguanas were valued at about $100 each, two Burmese pythons were estimated to be worth $1,500 each and the three albino pythons are worth $800 each, according to the police report.