Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: July 10, 2014
Case # 14CF0670
SANTA ANA – A Newport Beach elementary school teacher was convicted and sentenced today for animal abuse after hoarding and improperly housing over 400 snakes. William Frederick Buchman, 53, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of animal abuse by a caretaker. The defendant was sentenced to three years of formal probation, 100 hours of volunteer community service, is required to undergo a 16-week animal neglect prevention program, and is barred from owning, possessing, caring for, or living with any animal for five years. Buchman has also paid $17,000 in restitution for veterinary treatment and animal care and donated $25,000 worth of reptile cages from his collection to a snake rescue organization.
At approximately 6:45 a.m. on Jan. 29, 2014, Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) Animal Services Section responded to complaints made by several of Buchman’s neighbors concerning a foul smell coming from the house.
Buchman hoarded over 400 ball pythons inside his home and failed to properly care for them. He neglected to care for the snakes, which led to the deaths of 240 pythons in various stages of decomposition.
Buchman improperly cared for 182 snakes, which were still alive but malnourished, dehydrated, and covered with mites and/or maggots. He also had hundreds of live and dead mice as food for the snakes.
Following the SAPD recovery of the 182 living pythons, 20 died shortly after being impounded, and the 162 remaining pythons were treated and released to rescue groups throughout Southern California. All of the pythons have since been adopted from the rescue organizations by citizens.
SAPD investigated this case. Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone of the Environmental Protection Unit prosecuted the case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff