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'Snake Salvation'

Dead Pastor

Violated Law

2/17/2014 8:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0216-snake-salvation-8
The pastor who died Saturday from a snake bite violated Kentucky law by displaying and handling the deadly reptile during his church service ... TMZ has learned.

Jamie Coots was bitten by a rattlesnake while preaching to his congregation.  He refused medical treatment and died a short time later.

We did some digging ... and found a Kentucky law which says, "Any person who displays, handles or uses any kind of reptile in connection with any religious service or gathering shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100."

Kentucky Game Warden Ray Lawson tells TMZ ... Coots had proper permits to transport, hold and sell copperhead and timber rattlesnakes, but he acknowledges the state law prohibiting the use of snakes in religious ceremonies.

Lawson says his dept. has no authority to enforce the state law.  He says that's the job of the cops, but they don't enforce it.

We called the police ... but so far no answer.

116 COMMENTS

No Avatar
46.

Sonja    

He was a fool temping nature that way but at least he knew enough to get the proper permits to handle, keep and transport the snakes. Too bad he didn't respect them instead of using them so foolishly to try and prove his beliefs, so now that he died does the whole church break up since he proved the Bible wrong and God did not stop the poison or do they just now think he was not worthy?? Just a stupid waste, you can believe what you want, foolish to risk your life to prove it though.

163 days ago
47.

MightyMatt    

It's his family's fault. Obviously they didn't pray hard enough after he was bitten.

163 days ago
48.

Whocares    

Idiot. Pray to God but buckle your seat bely, wear a life jacket, go to Doctors, go to school, and don't play with poisons snakes! Seat BELT, Not bely. Stupid iPad jacked up.... can't select old text.

163 days ago
49.

Me    

TMZ why are you calling the police? Are your panties in a knot because they didn't charge the dead guy 50.00 for playing with a snake?

163 days ago
50.

Clyde T.M. Nestra    

I understand Coots had fought for years against any legal attempts to stop him, and succeeded. Religious practices are incredibly difficult to control because of Freedom of Religion. In Coots' case, nothing would have stopped him, IMO. His death was guaranteed based on how he lived and his refusal of help.

163 days ago
51.

SANDIB    

I will never understand the ignorance of these kinds of people.

163 days ago
52.

PureRadiance    

Ya play with the snake, you gonna get bit.

163 days ago
53.

Glenn    

I bet you he was sure that God would save him. Oh well...

163 days ago
54.

Big Daddy    

To paraphrase Ron White, not only can't fix stupid, you can't save people from themselves by making it illegal either.

163 days ago
55.

roman hendrix    

Enough is enough! I have had it with these mother-effing snakes on this mother-effing church. -Samuel L Jackson

163 days ago
56.

palermo    

"You knew I was a snake when you picked me up"

163 days ago
57.

broncosgodess    

Just one more reason cousins should NOT be allowed to marry each other!

163 days ago
58.

Sargio    

A pastor proving Darwin was right...huh., who knew

163 days ago
59.

Florida    

What a stupid way to die! Stupid is what stupid does...

163 days ago
60.

Robin    

I love when that happens.

163 days ago
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