2008-10-30 / Local & State

Rescuer Asks To Sell Snakes Abandoned In Pa. Store

LEHIGHTON, Pa. (AP) - An animal rescuer is asking a court to allow him to sell venomous and other snakes he has been sheltering for months since they were found abandoned in a closed exotic pet store in eastern Pennsylvania.

Police and animal rescue officers confiscated 160 snakes found abandoned in July inside the closed Serpent's Den store in Lehighton, 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

A boa constrictor was found crawling loose and other snakes were found in unsecured boxes. Investigators found nine dead snakes and three have died since. Authorities say they are seeking the store owner, 44-year-old Steven Markevich, who has disappeared.

Officials say warrants have been filed charging him with reckless endangerment, maintaining a public nuisance, animal cruelty and violating an ordinance that prohibits keeping exotic pets in Lehighton Borough.

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