FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale man is accused of illegally keeping venomous snakes in a bedroom closet at his home.
According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report, state wildlife officers received an anonymous tip in November that Bailey Hough, 18, was keeping snakes at his Southwest 26th Street home without a permit.
When Officer Leo Corteguera went to the home to meet with Hough, he claimed that the only wildlife he had at home was a leech that he kept in a fish tank. However, when Corteguera looked in Hough's closet, he saw six plastic containers without lids on the top shelf. He then saw a snake moving in the bottom container.
According to the report, Hough then confessed he had 10 snakes and that they were all venomous.
FWC officers said they found seven pigmy rattlesnakes, two canebreak rattlesnakes and one copperhead snake.
"Two Carolina pigmy rattlesnakes were dead and rotting inside of one of the containers, together with a third live snake," the report said. "This particular container had two water bowls inside. One bowl had maggots inside with foul-smelling sludge and the other bowl had very little water that was unsanitary with vegetation inside."
Hough claimed he paid cash to purchase the snakes out of state and voluntarily released ownership of the eight living snakes.
He was charged with possession of venomous reptiles without a permit, not having the required records of acquisition for venomous reptiles, not having the required critical incident/disaster plan, keeping venomous reptiles in unapproved and unlabeled primary enclosures, keeping venomous reptiles in a room that is not "escape-proof," and failure to label the entry point where venomous snakes were being kept with the required "Danger - Venomous Reptiles" sign.
According to Broward County court records, Hough agreed to complete a misdemeanor diversion program during his arraignment Tuesday. He was fined $25 and ordered to complete 25 hours of community service.