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Shirley man agrees to surrender snakes

Michael Ralbovsky, left, a herpetologist curator, and SPCA

Michael Ralbovsky, left, a herpetologist curator, and SPCA sergeant John Jordan hold two of the 6-foot Burmese pythons removed from the home of Richard Parrinello on Auborn Avenue in Shirley. (Sept. 19, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

The Shirley man accused of running an illegal reptile-sales business out of his garage agreed Monday to cooperate with Brookhaven Town officials and rid his home of 850 snakes, possibly within a week, his attorney said.

An attorney for Richard Parrinello, a Brookhaven Town animal control officer, met Monday with town attorneys to discuss plans to remove the reptiles from a two-car garage at the Auborn Avenue home. Town attorneys had threatened to seek a court order to remove the snakes if Parrinello did not agree to cooperate.

Parrinello's lawyer, Andrew Vecere of Bohemia, said in an interview he agreed to submit a plan by Friday for relocating the snakes "to an acceptable facility."

"We're working together," he said. "I'm sure that we'll start removing them within a week."

Deputy town attorney David Moran described the meeting as "pleasant and amicable."

"He wants to comply," Moran said of Parrinello. "It might take a while to relocate that number of snakes. One way or the other, the snakes will go."

The snakes, along with tarantulas and other animals, were discovered Thursday during a raid of Parrinello's house by town authorities, along with officers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Officials removed two 6-foot Burmese pythons, which are illegal in New York without a permit.

The investigation stemmed from a probe into whether Parrinello, 44, a Brookhaven Town animal control officer, was working a second job while on disability. Parrinello could lose his job if a state workers' compensation board finds he committed disability fraud, and town officials have said they would seek restitution of salary paid to Parrinello while he was on leave.

Town officials said Parrinello was operating his business, SnakeMan's Exotics, from his home without permits.

Vecere said Parrinello was a snake breeder who sold reptiles through the Internet and at trade shows. He said Parrinello plans to relocate the business.

Parrinello was entitled to 26 weeks' disability because he could not work, but plans to repay the town, Vecere said.

Moran said he and Vecere, at Monday's meeting, discussed various methods to remove and find new homes for the snakes. Moran said town officials prefer having Parrinello cooperate rather than forcing him to obey a court order.

"We don't want him going to the local woods and letting 800 snakes go."

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