Counting 'em Down: For better or for worse, this is the Headline Surfer countdown of the 2021's Top 100 biggest news stories of Central Florida along the tourism-driven stretch of Interstate 4 (Orlando Attractions and east to I-95 & the World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona). Each recap segment is posted with its own headline, culminating with the unveiling of No. 1 in the first two weeks of January, if not sooner, before switching to the Top 5 storylines -- the good, the bad & the ugly on the horizon in "2022: The Year That Lies Ahead."
By HENRY FREDERICK / Headline Surfer
DELTONA, Fla. -- An Enterprise man was arrested back in November on a felony charge of animal cruelty in the killing of a pet ball python he covered in acid solution and left to die while trapped in its tank.
Patrick Grimaldi, 64 of DeBary Avenue, was arrested at his home on Nov. 23, after a neighbor told a responding deputy that she saw the snake dead in its tank with an empty bottle of Calci-Solve super-strength concentrated descaler next to it.
The neighbor said she had heard a rattling noise earlier, which was likely the sound of the snake frantically trying to get out.
The snake’s owner reported she moved out of the residence after staying there for two weeks with Grimaldi as her landlord and roommate. She said she moved out in a hurry because Grimaldi was controlling and verbally abusive to her, and she was able to take her two kittens with her, but not her ball python.
About a week later, she said she received texts and photos explaining that the snake was dead and it appeared Grimaldi had poured poison on it. The inside of the tank was smeared with residue that suggested the snake had been in distress and struggled to escape, but was trapped inside with the lid secured with a strap, the deputy stated in the arrest affidavit.
About a week later, she said she received texts and photos explaining that the snake (pet Boa python like the one shown here) was dead and it appeared Grimaldi had poured poison on it. The inside of the tank was smeared with residue that suggested the snake had been in distress and struggled to escape, but was trapped inside with the lid secured with a strap, the deputy stated in the arrest affidavit.
Grimaldi was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail where he was being held on $2,500 on his felony charge of animal cruelty.
Cruelty to animals is not tolerated in Volusia County, and under Florida law, anyone who causes “the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering” of any animal has committed a felony.
About the Byline Writer: Henry Frederick is a member of the working press and publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet launched in 2008, that serves greater Daytona Beach, Sanford & Orlando from Lake Mary, Florida via HeadlineSurfer.com. Frederick has amassed close to 150 award-winning bylines in print & online. He earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2019. He was a breaking news reporter (metro cops & courts beat) for the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade. And Before that worked the same beat for The Journal-News/Gannett Suburban Newspapers in Rockland/Westchester counties, NY, dating back to 1989. Having witnessed the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Florida's death chamber and covering other high profile cases, Frederick has appeared on national crime documentary shows on Discovery ID, Reelz, and the Oxygen Network series "Snapped" for his analysis. • Award-Winning Journalism: Florida Press Club recognizes Headline Surfer for nine stories in 2020 statewide competition. • Award-Winning Journalism of Henry Frederick.