Remaining 14 snakes seized from Campbell Co. church euthanized

Remaining 14 snakes seized from Campbell Co. church euthanized

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The snakes were taken from Andrew Hamblin's church in LaFollette in November. (source: Facebook) The snakes were taken from Andrew Hamblin's church in LaFollette in November. (source: Facebook)
At the time, TWRA officers said many were in poor conditions. At the time, TWRA officers said many were in poor conditions.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Fourteen remaining snakes seized from a Campbell County pastor and reality TV personality were euthanized Monday as their health continued to deteriorate.

The snakes were being kept at the Knoxville Zoo. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Knoxville Zoo and the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine cooperatively handled decisions on the snakes' welfare and came to the conclusion that they should be euthanized due to multiple parasites and pathogens.

Michael Ogle, Curator of Herpetology at the zoo says the 14 were highly suspected of being infected with the same pathogens that proved fatal for the other 39 snakes brought to them from Campbell County.

Ogle says the snakes became ill because of the overcrowded conditions they were being kept in, and that there is no successful treatment for the pathogens, which are contagious to other snakes.

Zoo officials had hoped to place the copperheads at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.

Dr. Ed Ramsey, professor of zoological medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine,said most of the snakes were emaciated and several had severe skin and respiratory infections. Many of the snakes were also very sick with a variety of parasites, some untreatable.

The snakes were seized in November from Pastor Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette. Hamblin was cited for possession of Class 1 Wildlife, but a grand jury declined to indict him on any charges.

Hamblin said he was fighting for his right to worship with snakes, calling it a civil rights battle.

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