Tenn. hobbyist's venomous snakes may lead to jail

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A snake enthusiast faces numerous charges in Tennessee after wildlife authorities confiscated several of his venomous serpents following the death of a fellow hobbyist bitten by a copperhead.

Thirty-eight-year-old Chuck Hurd of Gate City, Va., says he never had any trouble with the law before. He is facing 48 misdemeanor charges related to his possession of the snakes, and each carries a maximum possible penalty of a year in jail.

Authorities arrested him after discovering his snakes, which had been left with a friend in Tennessee. Officials had been investigating the death of Wade Westbrook, who died at his home Jan. 29 after being bitten by the copperhead.

Hurd has not been charged in the man's death. He says he did not give Westbrook the snake and had nothing to do with the man's death.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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