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Man charged in Minn. dead snakes case

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — The owner of 32 dead snakes found in a storage locker near Dilworth faces a felony charge of mistreating animals by torture.

Forty-nine-year-old Henry Atherton also is charged with depriving food and shelter and abandoning the snakes.

A criminal complaint in Clay County District Court says Atherton brought the snakes to western Minnesota from Florida. Atherton told investigators he planned to sell the snakes but he wasn't able to find them homes, so he placed them in the storage locker.

The ball pythons were discovered last week when deputies were called to investigate an odor.

A home telephone number for Atherton could not be found. KFGO-AM reports Atherton's first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 14.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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