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Published January 17 2012

Charges possible after 32 dead snakes found in Dilworth storage unit

DILWORTH – Following up on an odor complaint, Clay County sheriff’s deputies discovered 32 dead snakes in a storage unit east of here on Sunday, Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said today.

The snakes, all ball pythons, belonged to Henry Atherton, a Dilworth resident initially from Orlando, Fla., according to the search warrant filed on Sunday.

Detective Jason Hicks said Atherton had brought the snakes with him from Florida and had put them in the storage unit because he could no longer take care of them.

Hicks said Atherton told investigators the snakes were alive when he put them in the storage unit last week.

Bergquist said a report would be forwarded to the Clay County State’s Attorney’s Office for possible charges of animal neglect against Atherton.