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Laurel man cited for firing gun to kill snake

Laurel officials say a 62-year-old resident was arrested for violating a city ordinance Sunday when he shot a snake in the woods behind his house.

Police were called to the 15000 block of Laurel Oaks Lane in Laurel around 12:25 p.m. after callers reported hearing gunshots. Police found the man in his yard holding a shotgun, and he acknowledged killing a snake, according to a press release from the Laurel police department.

James Matthews Jr. was charged with violating a city ordinance that prohibits "the discharging of any firearm, air rifle, slingshot, or other weapon that discharges a projectile," that can hurt someone" unless in personal self-defense or in defense of property, the release said. Matthews declined to comment Monday.

Laurel officials noted that killing a snake without a permit is illegal in Maryland under the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR website — — lists the phone numbers of wild animal control cooperators who can trap and remove unwanted animals from your property.

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