Pastor: Return Snakes to Me for My Religious Ceremony (Video)
Pastor: Return my snakes - my religious rights are being violated!
A Kentucky preacher is fighting the state of Tennessee for taking his venomous snakes he uses in his religious ceremony.
The preacher leads his congregation at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky. and says his services will suffer without his poisonous reptiles.
Watch a video below.
"We use them in our religious ceremonies. And I believe, as for me, if I don't have them there to use, then I'm not obeying the word of God," said Pastor Coots.
Against the law…
Police stopped Coots in an unrelated traffic stop, but had animal control officers remove the snakes when they were discovered as it is against the law in Tennessee to transport venomous reptiles without a permit and labeled containers.
The pastor apparently didn't have either and now Coots is due in court in Knoxville, Tenn., on Feb. 25 to face charges of transporting illegal reptiles and transporting the snakes in improper containers.
Coots said he misunderstood Tennessee law, otherwise he wouldn't have tried to pass through the state.
"I was under the impression you had 24 hours to transport through or in and out of Tennessee," Coots said.
Local 8 Now has more details here.
The snakes were transported to the Rainforest Adventure Zoo in Sevierville and will remain there until the Tenn. court makes a ruling.
Watch a video below for more.
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