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Hundreds of living, dead snakes found in Calif. home

SANTA ANA, California--A schoolteacher was arrested Wednesday after hundreds of living and dead pythons in plastic bins were found stacked floor to ceiling inside his stench-filled suburban California home.

As investigators wearing respirator masks carried the reptiles out of the house by the score and stacked them in the driveway, reporters and passers-by gagged at the smell. Some held their noses or walked away from the five-bedroom home to get a breath of air.

“The smell alone — I feel like I need to take a shower for a week,” said police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. “They're pretty much in all the bedrooms — everywhere.”

Officers said they found more than 400 snakes — at least 220 of them dead — as well as numerous mice and rats, in the Santa Ana home of William Buchman after neighbors complained about the smell. He was arrested for investigation of neglect in the care of animals, Bertagna said.

Buchman, 53, was still in custody Wednesday afternoon, Bertagna said. The Newport-Mesa Unified School District, where he works, declined comment, saying it was a police matter.

Buchman has not yet had a court appearance or been formally charged and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney.

Authorities said he lived alone, and neighbors said his mother, who had lived with him, had passed away within the past few years.

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While interviewing Sondra Berg, Santa Ana Police Animal Services supervisor, television reporters Bobby DeCastro, from FOX11, and Wendy Burch, of KTLA 5 plug their noses to avoid the stench emanating from the house with of dead and decaying snakes in Santa Ana, California.

(AP)

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