The Newport Beach elementary school teacher who was arrested in January for allegedly hoarding more than 400 python snakes inside his home and failing to properly care for them is scheduled to be arraigned this morning.
William Frederick Buchman, 53, is charged with felony animal abuse by a caretaker and faces up to three years in state prison with a conviction.
Neighborhood complaints about the stench coming from Buchman's home in the 2900 block of North Fernwood Drive sent Santa Ana police officers there the morning of Jan. 29 to serve a search warrant. They discovered the 400 snakes–some alive, some dead, some decaying–as well as the rats, mice and pieces of rodents the pythons fed on, according to police.
Haz-mat crews, in full protective uniforms and gas masks, spent hours that day removing the pythons. Police originally said 255 had been found dead, but a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) on this morning's scheduled arraignment in Santa Ana indicates there were 240 dead snakes.
Buchman is accused of improperly caring for 182 snakes, which were still alive but malnourished, dehydrated, and covered with mites and/or maggots, according to the OCDA, which notes 20 of those died shortly after being impounded.
The 162 remaining pythons were treated and released to rescue groups throughout Southern California, prosecutors add.