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8 rattlesnakes seized from Chesterfield home

Posted at 3:30 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 18:28:01-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield County man was charged after eight rattlesnakes were seized from his home.

"He was selling the snakes," Carrie Jones, manager of the Chesterfield County Animal Services Unit, said. "You can't own venomous snakes in Chesterfield County."

Officers seized the snakes from a home in the 3600 block of Thurston Road. Matthew Miller, 39, was charged with eight class-three misdemeanor charges for possessing the snakes in violation of the county's exotic animal ordinance.

A search warrant for this case stated that officers were initially alerted to the possible existence of the rattlesnakes at the home in May 2018. Officers, at the time, did not have enough information to get a search warrant.

"We did respond to his address and spoke with him," said Jones. "He told us they were pythons and non-venomous snakes and weren't able to get in the residence and see what he actually had."

Jones said that officers received more tips earlier this year that allowed them to get a search warrant.

"The tips that received were screenshots of him selling them on different classified pages," Jones added.

The search warrant indicated an officer saw Miller posted on an online classified site for reptile trading and selling where he stated that he had "Burms and hots" to trade. The search warrant stated that "hots" is a term used to describe venomous snakes.

"If they're not housed properly they could get out," Jones said. "You know, go outside and you could have them potentially in a neighborhood where you've got children playing or people could come into contact with them."

The rattlesnakes are currently being cared for by a person who lives in Richmond and was recommended to Animal Services by the Virginia Department of Gaming and Inland Fisheries.