After his January arrest, William Buchman has pleaded guilty for having over 400 snakes in his home.
The elementary school teacher from Southern California entered a misdemeanor plea in efforts to save him from his original charge, felony animal cruelty, which would have landed him three years in prison.
Instead of jail time, the 53-year-old has been sentenced to three years of formal probation. He must complete 100 hours of community service, participate in a 16-week animal neglect prevention program. Along with paying $17,000 and being unable to own a pet for at least five years, according to KTLA.
According to his attorney, Buchaman became depressed after the death of his mother, whom he lived with. “The depression paralyzed him and he tragically neglected the reptiles which had been a family hobby,” said Paul Meyer, Buchman’s attorney.
The snakes had been dying for quite a while, and according to local residents, the smell of dead snakes had permeated the neighborhood for months. (RELATED: Sixth Grade Teacher Arrested For Hoarding Hundreds Of Dead, Dying Pythons)
Buchman’s next door neighbor “thought someone was dead. … We couldn’t open up the bedroom windows. My wife started to gag and throw up.”
The home was filled with animal poop, hundreds of dead rats and mice, and even flies.
The spokeswoman for the school district Buchman works at has stated that there will be a substitute covering his position “until he resolves his personal matter,” reports NBC Los Angeles.
The students parents however, are supportive of Buchman. “Mr. Buchman has always been a caring teacher and one who I would gladly be a character witness if called to do so,” said a parent.