50 snakes seized from Campbell County church


LAFOLLETTE (WATE) – Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers seized 50 venomous snakes from a Campbell County preacher and reality TV personality on Thursday.

Officers say they went to the home of Andrew Hamblin, minister at Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette andstar of “Snake Salvation” on the National Geographic Channel, around 10 a.m.

They asked him if he was in possession of venomous snakes. He said ‘yes’ and took the officers to his church where officers found 50 venomous reptiles, both native and non-native species. Some are exotic species.

The snakes were collected, documented and transported to the Knoxville Zoo.

Hamblin has been at the center of an effort to repeal Tennessee’s ban on snake handling, saying he knew he was breaking the law and wanted everyone to know it.

He told 6 News he knew this day might come, but says it was a risk he and his congregation take to practice their faith. He says the law is trampling on his religious freedom.

“To me, telling someone what they can or cannot have in a worship service is no different than telling someone they cant have a Bible,” said Hamblin.

He says he’s always been careful to ensure the safety of his congregation, keeping the snakes locked up.

“I’m the only one with a key,” he said.

TWRA says the snakes were in poor condition.

Hamblin says the seizure won’t stop his church from practicing.

“One way or another, they might not be kept here like they were, they might not be kept by anybody but one way or another, there will still be serpents to be took up at this church,” he said.

Hamblin was cited for possession of Class 1 Wildlife, which includes any that is a danger to humans. He is expected to appear in Campbell County Court November 15.


3 thoughts on “50 snakes seized from Campbell County church

  1. *************************************************************************************
    TO: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

    FROM: John D – US Marine Fighting Tyranny.

    SUBJECT: Removing Snakes

    DATE: November 8, 2013

    Dear TWR Agency,

    If you are the agency responsible for the removal of venomous snakes,… please report to Capital Hill,.. Washington D.C.

    There are 435 Venomous-Snakes in the Congress that require removal, 100 Venomous-Snakes in the Senate that require removal, a small multitude of Venomous-Snakes in the White House that require removal and 9 Venomous-Snakes at the US Supreme Court that require removal.

    This of course does not address the Den Of Vipers at The Federal Reserve, or any of the thousands of federal agencies,.. but after removal of the snakes indicated above,.. we will submit additional requests for removal of other Venomous-Snakes that infest every other part of this government, inside and outside it parimeters.

    Thank you – JD – US Marine Fighting Tyranny

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