Metro Animal Services confiscates venomous snakes after advertisement for snake shows
A lone snake slithers across a make-shift stage at Jeremy Phillips' home. It's the only one he has left.
He's loved snakes since he was you and he caught four venomous snakes in Red River Gorge the past summer.
"The Copperheads were in here," he said gesturing to one of his enclosures. There's a sign on the door to the room that says "Danger: Venomous Snakes."
"I keep a brick on here and another light so it adds to the weight," Phillips explained. He's showing us a room where a glass cage with a wooden cover sits atop another, larger cage.
The Rattlesnake was kept below and only accessed through a sliding door. Phillips would only handle the animals with a snake hook.
But on Tuesday, Louisville Metro Animal Services came and took all four venomous snakes away.
"I was charged with prohibition of ownership of wild animals and exhibition of wild or vicious animals," Phillips said.
LMAS says while Kentucky law allows those snakes, a Metro Louisville ordinance does not and the local ordinance supersedes the state law.
"It's not like I'm milking them and trying to sell venom. It's not like I'm doing religious activities with them, I'm just using them to educate people," Phillips said.
Phillips says someone snaked him out and reported it to authorities, but he now wants a change in the Metro Louisville ordinance.
He had been putting on free snake shows, but recently was asking for five dollars to cover costs of snake food and electricity to keep them warm. No one has paid for the shows.
Some neighbors say they had a fear of snakes before, but have learned from Phillips not to be afraid.
"I think the venomous snakes are cool," neighbor Austin Brock said. "If you don't know what you're doing, don't know how to hold or handle them and don't like them, then don't come see them."
Phillips will face a judge for his arraignment next month. This case is the first of its kind in Louisville.
Phillips and his neighbors hope he gets his snakes back, but right now, they're only playing with his legal baby Ball Python.
"I use this one in my shows, so obviously people can hold them, because they can't hold the venomous ones," he said.
Phillips said he just put up a sign advertising his $5 snake shows, which he thinks may have gotten him in trouble.
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