TWRA waiting to take ownership of seized snakes

TWRA officials are going through the process of taking ownership of 21 snakes seized from a LaFollette church.

Agents seized 50 snakes in November and cited Pastor Andrew Hamblin of the Tabernacle Church of God for having dangerous animals.

A grand jury cleared Hamblin of charges Wednesday, but the pastor will not get his snakes back because they are considered contraband.

The Knoxville Zoo has been taking care of the snakes. Officials say a disease has killed 32 of them and the other 21 are at risk because they have been exposed to the parasite. TWRA says they cannot release the snakes in the wild or put them in captivity with other snakes.

TWRA official Matt Cameron said the snakes are waiting for another veterinary check up before TWRA can claim them as property.


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