published Monday, January 20th, 2014

TWRA euthanizes remaining 14 snakes seized from TN preacher

  • photo
    Andrew Hamblin, left, pastor of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tenn., talks with his attorney, Mike Hatmaker, after entering a not guilty plea for the illegal possession of more than 50 venomous snakes in Campbell County Sessions Court in this Nov. 15, 2013, file photo.
    J. Miles Cary/Knoxville News Sentinel

Wildlife officials Monday euthanized the remaining 14 poisonous snakes confiscated from a LaFollette preacher after the health of the animals continued to decline.

The snakes suffered from multiple parasites and pathogens that had already killed 39 copperheads and rattlesnakes seized from pastor Andrew Hamblin, of the Tabernacle Church of God in Campbell County, in November.

Hamblin was exonerated earlier this month by a grand jury on charges of illegally keeping dangerous snakes. But the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency kept the snakes taken in November with the intent of placing the copperheads at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.

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