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Published on April 24, 2024
Prescott Resident Charged With Possession of Restricted Wildlife, Breeding Illegal ReptilesSource: Facebook/Arizona Game & Fish Department

A Prescott resident is facing legal repercussions after a menagerie of venomous snakes and a quartet of Gila monsters were discovered and confiscated from their home. As per reports from 12 News, the Arizona Game and Fish Department charged the individual with possession of restricted wildlife and tampering with evidence following the discovery of the illegal collection.

According to the statement from the AZGFD, the individual, whose identity remains undisclosed, initially evaded law enforcement when they attempted to search the residence. The individual was later found and admitted to breeding the snakes, some illegally snatched from the wild, and to purchasing non-native species. The seized snakes, 36 in total, met a grim fate due to an aggressive fungal disease introduced by the non-native ones, compelling officials to euthanize them.

All of this began when Prescott police stumbled upon the reptiles while addressing another incident at the home. As reported by Field & Stream, the offender admitted to taking the Gila monsters, which are protected and illegal to take from the wild in Arizona, as well as breeding snakes and purchasing non-native ones illegal for import into the state.

The AZGFD stated that some of the reptiles would have been legal with a hunting license, but the individual lacked such a permit. For the series of violations, the individual was fined $1,200, faced a five-year ban on hunting, fishing, and trapping activities, and was ordered to compensate the state $9,684.54 in civil penalties "for the loss of the reptiles to the state," a figure that reflects the value of the wildlife taken.