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Man who hoarded 400 snakes charged with animal abuse

An official with Santa Ana Police Animal Services holds up a snake, one of hundreds found at a Santa Ana home on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014.

March 14, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
An elementary school teacher is expected to be arraigned Monday for allegedly hoarding and failing to care for more than 400 snakes in his Santa Ana home, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said.

William Frederick Buchman, 53, a sixth-grade teacher in Newport Beach, was charged with felony animal abuse. Santa Ana police served a search warrant in late January in the 2900 block of Fernwood Drive after receiving complaints from neighbors of a foul odor.

Inside, officers discovered hundreds of ball pythons, about 240 of them dead, as well as mice and rats, police said.

Buchman is accused of failing to care for the 182 snakes that were alive, which were found malnourished, dehydrated and covered with mites or maggots, district attorney officials said.

About 20 snakes died after being impounded. The remaining pythons were treated and released to rescue groups.

If convicted, Buchman faces a maximum of three years in state prison.