The Python Hunter is charged

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Published Nov. 6, 2009

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune broke the news yesterday that Justin Matthews, the owner of Matthew’s Wildlife Rescue  who made international news for planting his 14-foot pet python “Sweetie” in a Bradenton storm drain, has been charged with a third-degree felony for misuse of a 911 emergency system and a second-degree misdemeanor for maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe manner, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Matthews could face up to five years in prison for the stunt, which he says was an attempt to bring attention to the Burmese Python problem in Florida. The Herald-Tribune says that Matthews was released from the Manatee County jail Thursday after posting a $5,750 bail, and that he thinks the charges are “extreme” and plans to hire a lawyer. David Sadkin, a volunteer director at Wildlife Inc. Education and Rehabilitation Center, compared the staging to a “wildlife version of the balloon boy.”

 

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