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Associated Press, Published October 17 2013

Ohio man with more than 100 snakes faces charges

CLEVELAND – An Ohio man whose home was stacked “floor to ceiling” with more than 100 snakes, including some venomous vipers, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of illegally selling dangerous animals, a court administrator said.

Joseph McCollum, 46, and his girlfriend, Michelle Barrett, 45, were arrested Friday in Struthers, Ohio, after he went to a local hospital, saying he had been bitten by a venomous rattlesnake.

Police found 97 nonvenomous and a handful of venomous snakes housed in unmarked aquariums and plastic containers throughout the house, including in the room of McCollum’s 12-year old son.

McCollum and Barrett were charged with felony child endangerment. McCollum pleaded not guilty in Struthers municipal court Tuesday to illegally selling and auctioning animals but did not enter a plea on the child endangerment charge, which will be heard Friday, the court administrator said.

McCollum is the owner of the “Boa Store,” and sold and shipped snakes throughout the country, according to Struthers Police Detective Jeff Lewis.