Man is cited for not registering venomous snakes in home

The western diamondback rattlesnake's native range is the southwestern United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) and the northern half of Mexico.
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MARSHFIELD, Mo. - A man from rural Webster County could face a short jail sentence or a fine for keeping dangerous, venomous snakes locked up at his home. The Webster County prosecuting attorney on Thursday cited Raymond Borowski III, 36, with not registering his black mamba, western diamondback rattlesnakes, and cobras with local law enforcement agencies.

The charge came three months after a Webster County sheriff’s deputy wrote a probable cause statement used as the basis of the misdemeanor charge. The deputy on Feb. 26 observed “multiple venomous snakes” inside Borowski’s home on Highway CC near Niangua.

“Though these snakes were in terrariums, I feel it is an unsafe environment for the children in the home. I spoke with Sue Tucker of the Webster County Children’s Division, who advised me the snakes, though extremely dangerous, were not an element that could be hot-lined due to them being in a locked enclosure,” Deputy Steven Burgher wrote in the probable cause statement.

“I also spoke with the local on-call Missouri Conservation Officer Jarred who advised me, though the reptiles are in fact dangerous, permits were not required due to the snakes not being native to the state of Missouri. After further research, I located a state charge of housing dangerous animals without registering with local law enforcement,” the statement says.

Borowski could face a jail sentence up to 15 days and/or a fine up to $750. His first appearance in court is scheduled for Tuesday.

A reporter tried to reach Borowski for a comment on Thursday afternoon.

Francis Skalicky, a media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, says his agency does not issue permits for non-native species because it only deals with native Missouri species. He thinks these snakes fall under the jurisdiction of a federal agency, like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Raymond Borowski