Shirley (WALK) - He won't slither out of this... Town of Brookhaven officials say a salesman in Shirley must decide to cooperate with authorities by Monday, or lose his inventory of hundreds of reptiles and exotic animals.
Authorities who raided the house on Auborn Avenue Thursday were shocked to find its detached garage packed with 850 snakes, including 2 6-foot-long Burmese pythons, which are illegal to own or sell in New York State. The chief of the Suffolk SPCA, Roy Gross, said he was "astounded" at the discovery.
The raid was actually done as part of an investigation into a Brookhaven town employee who is suspected of disability fraud. Richard Parrinello, who lives in the house, is a town animal control officer who's been out on disability since May because of carpal tunnel syndrome. Officials suspected him of working another job while on disability leave.
Parrinello was recorded by undercover investigators who paid a visit to his Website,"Snakeman's Exotics," bragging about his inventory of snakes, turtles, turtle eggs, and more.
"What makes this case especially egregious is that this individual was allegedly operating this reptile business out of his home, posing an unknown threat to the neighbors of his community, while collecting a taxpayer-funded salary for a town job that he claimed he could not show up for because of medical reasons," said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.
Town officials want to discuss the matter with Parrinello, if he fails to comply Monday, town attornies promise to pursue a state Supreme Court order to take his managery-inventory.
Parrinello, 44, has reportedly was not arrested but faces town code violations for allegedly running a reptile sales business from his home without a permit. He received tickets from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for, among other things, possessing the illegal pythons.
Authorities say the animals that were seized, including tarantulas and baby turtles, all seemed to be well-fed and in good health. The pythons will be shipped to an out-of-state reptile sanctuary.