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WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 17, 2012, 10:33 PM

Authorities find snake surprise in Dilworth storage unit

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - You might want to sit back on your chair, or snuggle with your blanket a little tighter for our first story tonight. A Moorhead man possibly faces animal cruelty or neglect charges after Clay County deputies discovered more than 30 dead snakes in a storage unit east of Dilworth.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

You might want to sit back on your chair, or snuggle with your blanket a little tighter for our first story tonight. A Moorhead man possibly faces animal cruelty or neglect charges after Clay County deputies discovered more than 30 dead snakes in a storage unit east of Dilworth. A plan to breed, raise and sell Ball Pythons failed and led to the death of them all.

In a county garage in north Moorhead, plastic totes containing the remains of snakes that even had names. Thirty-two ball python snakes, some several feet long - all discovered in this storage building east of Dilworth.

The owner of the snakes told authorities he put the snakes in the rental unit because it is winter and he thought the cold would keep down the smell but the weather has been warm and the owner of the facility smelled something suspicious.

Jason Hicks – Clay County Detective: “I saw a series of dead snakes and the smell was horrific.”

Some of the snakes were very young, and the snake's owner, Henry Atherton, even has boxes of eggs. It was all part of a plant to breed and sell these ball pythons. Not your typical investigation for detectives who are used to bringing in drugs and guns. But snakes?

Jason Hicks: “Definitely ranks as unusual.”

Clearly the worst smelling evidence being detained right now, good thing it is winter.

Jason Hicks: “I am not a snake guy, I don't care for snakes.”

The Clay County Attorney's office has the report and is considering charges.

A plan to breed, raise and sell Ball Pythons failed and led to the death of them all.

In a county garage in north Moorhead, plastic totes containing the remains of snakes that even had names. Thirty-two ball python snakes, some several feet long - all discovered in this storage building east of Dilworth.

The owner of the snakes told authorities he put the snakes in the rental unit because it is winter and he thought the cold would keep down the smell but the weather has been warm and the owner of the facility smelled something suspicious.

Jason Hicks – Clay County Detective: “I saw a series of dead snakes and the smell was horrific.”

Some of the snakes were very young, and the snake's owner, Henry Atherton, even has boxes of eggs. It was all part of a plant to breed and sell these ball pythons. Not your typical investigation for detectives who are used to bringing in drugs and guns. But snakes?

Jason Hicks: “Definitely ranks as unusual.”

Clearly the worst smelling evidence being detained right now, good thing it is winter.

Jason Hicks: “I am not a snake guy, I don't care for snakes.”

The Clay County Attorney's office has the report and is considering charges.

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