VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL – An Enterprise man is charged with felony animal cruelty in the killing of a pet ball python he covered in acid solution and left to die while trapped in its tank. According to authorities, Patrick Grimaldi, 64, of DeBary Avenue in Enterprise, was arrested at his home this morning. Deputies started investigating the incident after it was reported by the snake’s owner on November 23.
The snake’s owner reported she moved out of the residence after staying there for two weeks with Grimaldi as her landlord and roommate. She said she moved out in a hurry because Grimaldi was controlling and verbally abusive to her, and she was able to take her two kittens with her but not her ball python. About a week later, she said she received texts and photos explaining that the snake was dead and it appeared Grimaldi had poured poison on it.
A neighbor told a responding deputy that she saw the snake dead in its tank with an empty bottle of Calci-Solve super-strength concentrated descaler next to it. The neighbor said she had heard a rattling noise earlier, which is believed the sound of the snake trying to get out.
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The inside of the tank was smeared with residue that suggested the snake had been in distress and struggled to escape, but was trapped inside with the lid secured with a strap.
Grimaldi was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail this morning with a bond of $2,500 on his felony charge of animal cruelty.
The Volusia Sheriff’s Office said that cruelty to animals is not tolerated in Volusia County, and under Florida law anyone who causes “the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering” of any animal has committed a felony.