SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County teacher was arrested Wednesday for felony animal cruelty after hundreds of pythons and rodents were found inside his home in “deplorable conditions”.
William Buchman, 53, a sixth-grade teacher at Mariner Elementary School in Newport Beach, was taken into custody after police and animal services served a search warrant at his home in the 2900 block of Fernwood Drive in Santa Ana, authorities said.
Neighbors reported a horrible smell coming from the residence for a long time, and once inside, authorities discovered hundreds of live and dead snakes, rats and mice, Santa Ana police said.
“The stench is overwhelming,” neighbor Forest Long, Jr. said. “It smells like something’s dead.”
KNX1070’s Margaret Carrero reports an upwards of 400 snakes were found in various stages of decay, including 50 dead ones and seven live ones in just one of the five rooms in the home.
The snakes were found in plastic bins stacked high with mice and rates running around the five-bedroom home. According to authorities, Buchman was breeding the snakes for profit.
“They’re very cold and it appears that most of them haven’t eaten in quite a while. There’s various stages of dying and dead and underweight,” Animal Services Cpl. Sondra Berg said.
Cpl. Berg told CBS2/KCAL9’s Michele Gile that she had made a visit to Buchman’s home nine months ago for an inspection and the residence appeared to be in order.
All of the live snakes were released to authorities and rescue organizations.