A Floral Park man was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx after being bitten on the hand by his pet diamondback rattlesnake at his Oak Street home on March 25, authorities said.
Floral Park Police and Nassau County Police arrived at the residence to find several animals living inside the basement. The pet owner, Robert Lantier, 31, housed a variety of illegal reptiles, including a 4- to 5-foot-long cobra, two baby eyelash vipers; an albino diamondback rattlesnake, a 3-foot-long crocodile monitor; and a bamboo viper.
According to Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross, the Nassau County Police requested the agency’s Special Emergency Response Team to ensure the public’s safety. The team did not act as law enforcement officers, but were brought in to expertly remove the animals from the location. Gross told the Floral Park Dispatch that the animals have since been transported safely to reptile sanctuary out of the state.
Gross stressed the growing problem of individuals who want to own exotic pets, but don’t know how to handle them. “Besides being illegal, it’s unfair to the animal and it’s a big risk to the community,” he said. The number of cases of illegal reptiles has “occurred quite often” on Long Island, he explained. “It’s a danger to the public and it’s unacceptable,” Gross said.