A Lincoln County man charged with killing a pet snake says the animal was already dead when he shot it.
Gary Wayne Ericcson, 46, was arrested Sunday on multiple charges, including cruelty to animals, after the shooting at his home. He was released from custody after posting a $20,000 bond.
But Ericcson says the snake, which he said was named Anonymous, had died before the shooting.
I couldnt bury him or the other animals would get him, Ericcson told NBC Charlotte, the Observers news partner. I had to shoot it to get the gas out of him, then I was going to burn him.
Ericcson said the snake was his pet for about 17 years. Ive had that snake since he was so small he could just wrap around your wrist, he said. Me and my wife cant have kids, so the animals are our kids.
Ericcson claimed he was so distraught over the snakes death, he shot up the large cabinet that contained his Dale Earnhardt collection.
The 46-year-old Denver man said he planned to bring witnesses to court to help him prove the snake was already dead when he shot it. Ericcson said he is afraid the county will take his two cats and dog away from him if the animal cruelty charges are not dropped. The Associated Press contributed.