Fair Lawn Animal Control Officer Rich DuBarton was fired Friday for posting a video on YouTube showing an albino cobra whose bite left a man close to death.
Although Fair Lawn police issued the initial release, DuBarton fielded inquiries from local media after 25-year-old Eric Bortz was hospitalized.
“I’m an animal control officer,” DuBarton told the Community News of Fair Lawn on Friday. “I’m supposed to educate the public. No one ever told me I wasn’t allowed to.”
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DuBarton, who served in the Marines, had been working the animal control job part-time. He’s also a certified police K-9 instructor.
The only words DuBarton speaks in the video are: “You can see it’s not very happy.”
However, some who saw the video said that’s because DuBarton appeared to be tormenting the snake, which was in a glass cage with a screen on top.
Questions arise over the ability of a public employee to disseminate what is public information.
Technically, the snake is evidence belonging to state authorities — specifically, the Division of Fish & Wildlife — who are investigating possible charges of not having proper permits, as well as any role the Pennsylvania seller of the snake, and two others, to Boltz may play.
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