On Wednesday, the UC Police Dept. requested an additional count of felony animal cruelty against an Isla Vista man who was arrested in connection with the multiple stabbing of a 13-foot, 80-pound Burmese python.
Jeffery Sean Kinsey, 21, already has two charges of felony animal cruelty pending against him in connection with the stabbing of the Burmese python that police discovered April 24 in a dirt parking lot on the Devereux Loop. The police suspected Kinsey was the owner of the python and obtained a search warrant for Kinsey’s residence on May 1. During the search of the residence, UCPD officers found a dead and frozen Argentine boa constrictor in Kinsey’s freezer. He was arrested at his residence and taken to Santa Barbara County Jail, where he was questioned by UCPD. He denied ownership of the dead Burmese python.
The new felony animal cruelty charge is in connection with the frozen snake found at his residence, which died of cryptosporidiosis. The disease is communicable to humans, UCPD Detective Bill van Nieuwenhuize said.
“I am requesting an additional felony count of animal cruelty for failure to provide medical care for the snake that was in the freezer,” van Nieuwenhuize said.
Kinsey said he suspected the Argentine boa was sick soon after he purchased it, after noticing the snake’s soft scales and inability to properly digest its food. Kinsey said the boa died within two weeks. He also said he voluntarily alerted police to the boa’s presence in the freezer after they did not find it during their initial search.
Repeated attempts by UCPD to interview Kinsey have been unsuccessful but will not deter the investigation, van Nieuwenhuize said.
Kinsey said he chose not to attend an interview he had planned with van Nieuwenhuize because he believes the detective is attempting to affect a marijuana case against Kinsey by defaming his character.
“They’re trying to make me into the Jeffrey Dahmer of snakes,” Kinsey said.
Kinsey was arrested on April 26 in possession of 14 ounces of marijuana. Kinsey said he has a medical marijuana prescription from a Santa Barbara doctor to help stimulate his appetite, which is suppressed by medicine Kinsey takes for an anxiety disorder.
Kinsey is the only person named as a suspect, but van Nieuwenhuize speculated more than one person was a part of the attack on the python.
“I have physical evidence recovered from the scene that points to other individuals being involved, and the investigation is continuing into identifying those people,” he said.
Since his initial interview with police, Kinsey has said that he is not sure if the python found by police is his but that his python, Corky, is missing. He said he was not sure how long Corky had been missing from his house before the police found the python at the Devereux Loop and that there had been problems in recent weeks with people harassing and trying to feed Corky. He speculated the snake may have accidentally bitten someone. Kinsey said he has been evicted from his house as a result of the snake situation.
The Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office has yet to file charges against Kinsey.
If Kinsey is found guilty on all three counts of animal cruelty, he could be sentenced to three years in a federal prison and receive a $60,000 fine.