Snakes seized from serpent-handling pastor are euthanized - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Snakes seized from serpent-handling pastor are euthanized

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CAMPBELL COUNTY, TN (WBIR) -- All of the snakes that were confiscated from a serpent-handling pastor in Campbell County have now been euthanized.

TWRA seized 55 poisonous snakes from Andrew Hamlin in November. He handled the snakes as part of worship services at the Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette. Hamlin was cited for having animal dangerous to humans, but a grand jury did not indict him on criminal charges.

The confiscated snakes were taken to the Knoxville Zoo, but were in such poor condition, they could not be saved.

According to Michael Ogle, Curator of Herpetology at the Knoxville Zoo, "The 14 remaining snakes are highly suspected of being infected with the same pathogens that have proven fatal for the other 39 snakes brought to us from Campbell County. This is due to the overcrowded conditions they were being kept in prior to their arrival at Knoxville Zoo. There is no successful treatment for these pathogens, which could be fatal for any other snakes, captive or wild, that might be exposed to them. Unfortunately, due to this risk, we cannot safely bring them into a captive conservation program or release them into a wild population. Additionally, the longer we house these snakes, the greater the risk we expose our collection to these pathogens, which could be catastrophic for our animals."

Read more from our news partner WBIR.

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