Police and animal control officers in Santa Ana have arrested a 53-year-old elementary school teacher on suspicion of animal cruelty -- after hundreds of live and dead snakes were found in the teacher's home.
Neighbors said they'd been complaining about a foul smell coming from William Buchman's 5 bedroom home in the 2900 block of Fernwood Dr. since August, but said they had no idea about the snakes being kept in what authorities have described as, "hoarder," conditions.
"It's just a real nasty smell," said neighbor Andy Orduna.
"Like something dead, or rotten."
He and others -- who watched as officers wearing Tivek protective suits and respirators brought snakes out of the home and placed them in cardboard boxes -- said they had no idea snakes were the cause of the foul odor.
Forest Long, Sr. said he and his wife began complaining about the smell last August. He said it's most intense in the evening.
"No windows can be open because it would come through the bedrooms," Long said.
Buchman was arrested as officers served a search warrant around 7:00 a.m., according to Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertanga.
At least 50 dead snakes were found in the front room of the home. Dozens more dead snakes were found in a large freezer in a second room.
-- Eric Leonard in Santa Ana
Photos Credit: Eric Leonard