WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: A man will serve more than a month behind bars after he stabbed a snake in the head with a screwdriver.
The man, 36, from Tyne and Tear in northeast England was sentenced to 17 weeks’ jail and banned from keeping animals for 10 years after killing the snake in May last year.
RSPCA inspector Rachael Hurst told South Tyneside Magistrates' Court she was told about the snake at a house for homeless people.
She said she found bloodstains on the carpet and a snake in a corner of the property which appeared dead.
"When I picked the snake up his jaw was embedded into the carpet which made it difficult to free,” she told the court.
“There was an open wound on the snake's head and he appeared to be in poor body condition.”
Ms Hurst then spoke with management and two men.
The men told them no one owned the snake or knew where it had come from.
"When one of the residents was leaving to go to the shop, the snake apparently bit him on the leg,” she said.
“He said that the following day he passed the snake again and when he hissed at him he hit him with a fire extinguisher and stabbed him in the head with a screwdriver.
"I removed a screwdriver from the scene and took the snake to a nearby vet for an examination and post mortem."
A post mortem determined it’s possible the snake was a pet which had escaped a nearby hostel but was in poor health and possibly neglected.
A vet found it’s “extremely unlikely that this impalement would have resulted in instantaneous death” and the snake’s method of death “would have resulted in pain, stress and suffering”.
After sentencing, Ms Hurst said the snake “was already in a poor condition and was likely extremely frightened and confused”.
“He needed help but, instead, was viciously attacked, seriously injured and left to die, as vets suspect, a long and slow death,” she said.
"It's completely unacceptable to treat any animal in this way and we will always look into reports of animal cruelty and, where necessary, seek justice for that animal."
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