Indiana News

15 Venomous Snakes Found At Marion County Home

11/14/2006

Conservation officers who entered the home of a man who sought treatment for a poisonous snake bite found 15 venomous vipers, including cobras and rattlesnakes, inside.

Michael Fillenwarth, 47, was taken into custody but later released after Monday night's raid on his home due to medical issues related to his snake bite, officials said.

Authorities learned of the snakes after Fillenwarth sought treatment over the weekend for a bite from the highly venomous green mamba, native to Africa.

Sgt. Dean Shadley, an Indiana Conservation Officer, said Fillenwarth did not have the proper permits to keep the snakes, which Shadley described as "extremely poisonous." He is charged with possession of a dangerous reptile without a permit.

Shadley said investigators plan to present information to the Marion County prosecutor that could lead to criminal charges in the case.

Officers confiscated five types of rattlesnakes, three types of cobras, along with gaboon vipers, copperheads, a puff adder, and two green mambas from Fillenwarth's home on Indianapolis' east side. They also seized caged quail Fillenwarth was using as food for the reptiles.

Jim Harrison of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo was contacted to positively identify the snakes, which were taken to a facility run by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Due to medical issues related to his snakebite, Fillenwarth was not jailed Monday night. A summons for his court appearance was to be issued when the investigation is complete and the charges are filed.

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