Police arrested a Newport Beach, Calif. elementary school teacher on Wednesday after they executed a search warrant and found over 420 pythons throughout his suburban Southern California home.
William Buchman, a sixth-grade teacher at Mariners Elementary School, now faces felony animal cruelty charges, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Reports about the condition of the snakes are contradictory. The Times says only two were alive. KTLA reports that 182 of the snakes managed to survive the filthy conditions inside Buchman’s home.
Whatever the case, the stench of the dead and dying snakes has permeated the neighborhood for about six months, local residents say.
“We thought someone was dead,” Forest Long, Buchman’s next-door, told the Times. “We couldn’t open up the bedroom windows. My wife started to gag and throw up.”
It smelled like “death,” Santa Ana police officer Anthony Bertagna observed.
Neighbors had nicknamed Buchman “the rat man” because he regularly had rodents delivered to his home.
A police video obtained by KTLA shows the horrendous state of the inside the house. It’s a hoarder’s paradise filled with boxes, garbage and random junk.
Police found thousand of dead rats and mice (along with 45 live ones). These rodents were supposed to be snake food, but Buchman had stopped feeding the snakes. There was rodent poop everywhere. There were little flies everywhere. There were bottles full of human urine.
Buchman, 53, had been breeding the pythons. However, reports KTLA, when his mother (a retired teacher), father and grandmother all passed away within the last five years, he responded by becoming increasingly despondent and reclusive.