Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Big rattlesnake in Clearwater meets a girl's big heart

CLEARWATER — This is a story about an old man, a young girl and a rattlesnake.

It all took place Wednesday afternoon on Clearwater Beach outside the home where Ed Marchiselli, has lived for 40 of his 88 years.

For some reason, a 4- to 5-foot rattlesnake decided to drop by. It coiled itself outside, underneath his drippy air-conditioning unit, perilously close to his gas main.

Perilously close, that is, because Marchiselli's inclination was to shoot the snake and be rid of it.

When a neighbor called police, Marchiselli implored the officers to go ahead and blast it.

In an interview the day after, Marchiselli explained there's no point taking chances with something so dangerous.

But the police officers who came out to the house at 917 Mandalay Ave. — four cars worth, according to Marchiselli — did not want to shoot the snake until all other options were explored.

Meanwhile, a crowd of about 25 people gathered.

Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Daly-Watts said the officers called Pinellas County Animal Services, but they would not come to the scene.

The police officers then contacted a trapper to come out and remove the snake, but the trapper was going to charge Marchiselli $100 for the service. (Marchiselli says it was $150.)

He refused.

"I told them to walk around the corner and there'd be no problem," Marchiselli said, referring to his plans to introduce his .22-caliber rifle to the snake's head. He said he could do it without damaging the gas line.

"I can't afford $150 every time I see a snake," he said.

Police were in a bind.

That's when a girl came along. When she saw the snake in trouble, she and her father decided to pay the $100 removal fee.

Dawn Dockery, the 61-year-old trapper, said she saw the girl only fleetingly, but the whole affair was touching.

Dockery did what she's done since 1978: She scooped up the 15-pound snake in just five minutes, using a pole and a clothesline noose.

The snake — she's not sure if it's male or female — was sent to a biotoxin center, where it will be milked for its venom, she said.

Eventually, she thinks, the snake will be released.

"The police officers said that's a big one," Dockery recalls. "I said that's a small one to me."

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Big rattlesnake in Clearwater meets a girl's big heart 09/04/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 12, 2008 5:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  2. Young girl injured by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium renews call for more netting

    Ml

    NEW YORK — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. [Associated Press]
  3. Even a weakened Irma leaves its mark on Pasco

    Hurricanes

    It was a Category 5, a Category 3, a tropical storm. It was Hurricane Irma, and she turned out to be a little fickle by the time she touched Pasco County.

    But she had strong breath.

    Above, James Robbins of New Port Richey paddles on Elfers Parkway after checking on his cats living on the second floor of his home on the Anclote River.
  4. Photo of the Day for September 21, 2017 - A Gorgeous sunset on the gulf

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Evan Kaplan of New Port Richey, FL.

  5. State shuts down Hollywood nursing home where 9 died in scorching heat

    State Roundup

    HOLLYWOOD — The Hollywood Hills nursing home that became a sweltering deathtrap for nine seniors after Hurricane Irma was shut down Wednesday.

    Dawn Schonwetter stops to look at a memorial of flowers and messages left on the sidewalk of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Nine residents of the nursing home died in the wake of Irma, including one who was added to the death toll on Tuesday. [AL DIAZ | Miami Herald]