Supposedly, more than 100 snakes were confiscated in an undercover sting. The majority were apparently taken from Coot's home. Reportedly, Coot's collection included 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, and a pair of cobras. But is this an example of the Constitutional principal of separation of Church and State? Where does freedom of religion begin and where does it end? Since the beginning of time, snakes have played a role in some fundamentalist churches based on Bible verses saying true believers can take up serpents without being harmed. The problem for Coots is that the practice is illegal in Kentucky.
Coots is not a kid. He is a 36 year old pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro. This is the same church where a woman apparently died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a service in 1995. Ironically, her husband died in 1998 by a snake bite in Alabama.
So what are the charges? Charging information contains allegations of buying, selling and possessing illegal reptiles.
So what happens to the snakes? The reptiles are apparently now in the possession of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.