A Bergen County condo owner taking out the trash recently got a frightful scare: On top of the garbage bin was a 10-foot-long snake.
The live but lethargic python had a fresh wound on its head. Its eyes were red and bloody.
Police quickly found Derek McGuire, a former star track and field star turned bodybuilder who lives in the Mahwah complex.
McGuire, 36, owns and operates an online business called “D-Rassic Park.” Run from his basement, it breeds and sells pythons, according to a police report.
The entire episode was a sad and unfortunate situation, McGuire said. He clearly didn't mean to scare anyone.
"I had nine snakes that had a virus – there’s nothing that you can do for it," he told Daily Voice.
"I talked to some of the biggest breeders in the country. They said the least pain for the snake was to hit it over the head and crush the brain," McGuire said. "I didn't do it right, and it didn't die."
Responding to a call from the startled Paddington Square resident, Mahwah Police Officers Liam Kantanas and Officer Darren Storms found the snake atop a Dumpster in a trash shed.
Storms, who is the township’s humane officer, used “a snare and an empty garbage can to contain the snake,” Kantanas wrote in his report.
“As he was moving the animal, we were able to observe what appeared to be a fresh wound on top of its head," Kantanas wrote.
“There was blood on top of its head and the eyes were also red and bloody,” the officer added. “The snake was lethargic, as well, as the temperature outside was approximately 60 degrees.”
TYCO Animal Control was summoned to collect the snake.
The TYCO officer “stated the top of the head felt soft as if it had been struck with a blunt object,” Kantanas reported. “She also stated it appeared the animal was either a reticulated python or a ball python.”
McGuire, who grew up in Watertown, NY, was a star in high school and once won three gold medals at the Empire State Games. He then became the first All-American and NCAA championship qualifier for shot put in the history of the University of Mississippi.
A personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder, McGuire has also been building his prized snake collection since moving to Paddington Square several years ago, according to NNY 360.
As of last year, the story says, “D-Rassic Park” boasted 30 full-sized snakes, with another 10 still growing, amid plenty of eggs.
McGuire breeds them in plastic bins in his basement. Some are featured on YouTube, the Mahwah police report notes.
McGuire received summonses for abandoning a sick or disabled animal, failing to provide a living animal with care and inflicting unnecessary cruelty following the May 3 incident, the report says. No court date was listed.
Storms also conducted a follow-up investigation with the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife and TYCO, the report says.
"Fish and Wildlife said it was the best place they’d been to," McGuire said Friday. "There's no smell, which is rare. Even Carol Tyler at TYCO said they know we didn’t have any ill intent. She said she knew we were just trying to do the best for our pet.
"I love my pets. I wasn't trying to do anything wrong. I was just trying to do the best thing possible."
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