Christopher Gifford is the man who owned the zebra cobra that had the city on edge for a few days in June. According to videos posted on social media, Gifford had a large collection of exotic animals at his parents' home in Northwest Raleigh.
Last month, he was issued a criminal summons that included 36 counts of improper enclosures, three counts of mislabeled enclosures and one count of failure to report escape.
In court Friday, Gifford pleaded guilty charges related to not properly reporting the escaped snake.
The owner of the Zebra Cobra snake 21-year-old Chris Gifford faced a judge today. He plead guilty to his charges. The judge accepted a plea agreement. Gifford was given 12 month supervision probation and will pay more than $13,000 restitution @ABC11_WTVD pic.twitter.com/Y57N0NrzY8— Tamara Scott (@TamaraScottTV) August 6, 2021
The judge accepted Gifford's plea and ordered him to serve 12-month supervised probation and pay $13,000 in restitution--some of which will pay for the overtime of first responders who worked the case. Gifford also agreed to turn over 75 snakes and not possess any other snakes for a year.
"He is 21 years old and he made a mistake and he's really done everything he can to rectify the situation," his attorney said.
The zebra cobra was caught June 30 when it was spotted on a neighbors front porch. Animal control officers arrived and used glue traps to secure the animal.
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Gifford was hospitalized by a snake bite in April, according to our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer.
Gifford posted on Facebook in April describing himself as having been bitten by his own West African Green Mamba. Antivenom from Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina had to be rushed to the local hospital in order to save Gifford's life.