NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A team including personnel from the New Rochelle Police Department, SPCA of Westchester, Westchester County Health Department, and the New Rochelle Building Bureau responded to a report that a tenant in an apartment building in New Rochelle had a large number of snakes in his apartment.
What the team found startled all of them, close to 200 snakes - possibly more.
Officials responding to 769 Pelham Road were granted entry by Christopher M. Eaton who was operating iBall Pythons, a snake-breeding business, out of his apartment. Eaton explained his breeding business and how it had grown rapidly.
The premises was maintained meticulously according to reports filed with the complaint. Eaton had HEPA air filters set up and there was no smell.
Eaton stated that he shipped and sold snakes to the public. All business operations were performed in the apartment unit. Eaton was informed that he could not operate a business out of his apartment and that he could not have more than 3 non-poisonous snakes as "pets". He was issued two related appearance tickets. Eaton was cooperative. He plead guilty, paid the fines and moved his business out of the building.
“All animals were safely secured in a clean environment and did not pose any harm or threat to the surrounding areas,” according to the Building Department report obtained by Talk of the Sound under a Freedom of Information request.
On the company website, Eaton explained how iBall Pythons got started.
“Three friends with a mutual love of ball pythons decided to get together and, after seeing the new color and designer morphs coming out of the early 2000s craze, decided to try their hand at breeding to re-create some of the amazing animals they were seeing online and in magazines…it grew a lot quicker than expected…and the collection is constantly growing.
In addition to the snakes, Eaton received regular deliveries of rats, shipped to the apartment, to feed the snakes.
The company web site includes a video explaining more about the breeding of the snakes sold by iBall Pythons (http://iballpythons.com/).
Eaton did not respond to an email seeking comment.