Orange County man bitten by cobra appears in court in charges

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Ali Iyoob (WTVD)

The Orange County man who was bitten by a King Cobra in his home last month appeared in court Thursday on charges for owning illegal animals.

Ali Iyoob made his first court appearance six weeks after his pet snake bit him and left him fighting for his life.

The 21-year-old said he would be representing himself in court, but refused to talk to the media.

Iyoob appeared to be fully recovered after the venomous snake left these gashes on his hand, according to one of his Facebook posts after the incident.

He is charged with seven counts of illegal animal ownership.

Court documents list two counts of venomous reptile ownership, two counts of crocodilian ownership, two counts of large constricting snakes ownership, and one count of keeping wild and dangerous animals.

Orange Co man bitten by cobra charged with illegal animal ownership

It's against an Orange County ordinance to keep venomous snakes. Officials said some snakes were un-permitted native wildlife species and others were in violation of a state statute that specifies the safe-keeping of venomous reptiles.

Chatham and Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said it is a matter of public safety.

"The actual violations are low-level misdemeanor violations," Woodall said. "So it's something we'll try to work with him on to make sure he does things safely in the future. It's how they're housed and how the public's protected from them that's important."

On May 2, Iyoob tried to drive himself to the emergency room after he was bitten by the snake.

Iyoob made it about six miles down Highway 54 before pulling to the side of the road and telling a 911 dispatcher he was having trouble seeing and felt "nauseous." EMS picked him up and rushed him to the Intensive Care Unit at UNC Hospitals.

King Cobra antivenin was flown in from the Riverbank Zoo in Columbia, S.C., to treat Iyoob where he was listed in critical condition for days.

Iyoob is a former UNC biology major who works with Reptile Rescue of the Carolinas and has a clear passion for snakes.

After he was bitten, expert snake handlers spent six hours in his home identifying and removing 60 animals.

Experts remove 34 snakes from victim's Orange Co. home

In addition to the King Cobra, a search warrant lists a cottonmouth, puff adder, Egyptian Cobra, Sharknose Viper, Lancehead Viper, 2 Zebra Spitting Cobras, Gavan Spitting Cobra, Banded Egyptian Cobra, 2 rattlesnakes, Whitetail Lancehead, Fer de Lance, Tree Viper, and 2 Monocled Cobras - in addition to many non-venomous snakes and other animals.

The venomous snakes were taken to a holding facility outside Orange County arranged by the Museum of Natural Sciences and the constrictor snakes are at the NC Zoological Park.

It is unclear if Iyoob has those snakes that are legal and back in his custody. He is next due in court on July 28th.

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