Remaining Campbell County Snakes Euthanized As Health Continued Deteriorating

Monday, January 20, 2014

The 14 remaining snakes from the seizure of a LaFollette pastor in November were euthanized on Monday as their health continued deteriorating from multiple parasites and pathogens.

The TWRA, the Knoxville Zoo, and the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine have been cooperatively handling decisions on the snakes’ welfare and came to the unfortunate decision that the snakes should be euthanized. 

According to Michael Ogle, Curator of Herpetology at the Knoxville Zoo, “The 14 remaining snakes are highly suspected of being infected with the same pathogens that have proven fatal for the other 39 snakes brought to us from Campbell County.  This is due to the overcrowded conditions they were being kept in prior to their arrival at Knoxville Zoo. There is no successful treatment for these pathogens, which could be fatal for any other snakes, captive or wild, that might be exposed to them.  Unfortunately, due to this risk, we cannot safely bring them into a captive conservation program or release them into a wild population.  Additionally, the longer we house these snakes, the greater the risk we expose our collection to these pathogens, which could be catastrophic for our animals.”

Ambitions were to originally place the copperheads at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.

Dr. Ed Ramsay, professor of zoological medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, said, "Unfortunately, most of the snakes were emaciated and several had severe skin and respiratory infections.  In addition, many of the snakes were very sick with a variety of parasites, and some of the parasites are untreatable."

Dr. Juergen Schumacher, a colleague of Dr. Ramsay at the UTCVM, had also examined the snakes and concurred that the snakes should be euthanized.  

The TWRA, in conjunction with the Campbell County District Attorney’s Office, obtained a court order giving TWRA ownership of the snakes.  With this document in hand and after an evaluation from two veterinarians, the TWRA gave the consent to allow the snakes to be euthanized.  

“The snakes’ welfare has been the top priority since day one and we support the professional decisions of the veterinarians and the zoo’s experts,” said TWRA Sgt. Joe Durnin who handled the case for the agency.  


National Archery In Schools Program Subject For June Nature At Noontime

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), will be the subject for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s June Nature at Noontime program. The program will be held on Thursday, June 2, from noon-1 p.m. at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building located in the Ellington Agriculture Complex. Don Crawford, TWRA assistant chief for Information and Education and the ... (click for more)

TWRA Officials To Attend Meeting In Regard To Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishery

Officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency are among those who will be attending a public meeting regarding the crappie fishery on Kentucky Lake. The meeting, requested by State Representative Tim Wirgau, will be held on Tuesday, June 14, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Enoch Building at the Henry County Fairgrounds in Paris. TWRA fisheries personnel will attend to share ... (click for more)

Child Bitten By Dog In Bradley County

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a child who was bitten by a dog. While saturating an area in Bradley County, a deputy observed a vehicle traveling on the roadway with a child not restrained and sitting in a passenger’s lap inside the vehicle. Once the deputy approached the vehicle, he noticed a child bleeding which was the result of a dog bite. ... (click for more)

Man Rescued From The Pocket Wilderness On Saturday

Rescue personnel started the Memorial Holiday weekend at the Pocket Wilderness hiking trails on Saturday morning. A man had been camping on the trails with friends Friday night when the accident occurred. They had been gathering branches for firewood when he tripped and fell on a branch which impaled his thigh. With no cell service and having no daylight, the group waited ... (click for more)

Fruit Basket Turnover

I have been teaching for 21 years now, so I’ve been through my share of school leaders. Every one of them taught me something important. Whether it was Don Bishop from Red Bank High School who, after almost 30 years at Red Bank, taught me to invest in the longevity of my career, Wade Kelly who taught me to thoroughly weigh options before making a decision, Gail Chuy who taught me ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Let Me Be Clear’

I have seen a lot of human beings who have gotten themselves in terrible messes in my time and more self-induced agony than I want to recall. Will Rogers famously said, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” That’s the truth and if you ever didn’t think that “Politics corrupts,” consider the genius behind the line, “It ain’t long those who get elected … begin to think ... (click for more)