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Old 01-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #2
I know this post didn't get much attention when I wrote it but since I was made aware of a new story related to it I figured I might as post it here as an update

Former employee of snake-milking business sues over venomous bite

Carl Barden and then-assistant Denisse Abreu milk a snake at the Reptile Discovery Center near DeLand. Abreu now has her own, similar business and is suing Barden's company.

News-Journal file
By Frank Fernandez
Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.

A woman bitten by a venomous snake while working at the Reptile Discovery Center near DeLand is striking back by suing the business, which is owned by her ex-boyfriend.

Denisse Abreu was bitten in 2011 when the snake struck her “due to improper screening of the venomous' snakes cage” according to the lawsuit filed in Volusia County Circuit Court in DeLand. The lawsuit does not name the type of serpent.

Carl Barden owns the Reptile Discovery Center, which extracts venom from snakes and sells it to be turned into life-saving antivenin to treat snakebites. Among the snakes at the center are rattlesnakes and cobras.

Neither Barden nor Abreu could be reached for comment.

Abreu was at one time Barden's girlfriend, according to a 2009 News-Journal story. The story also described her as his assistant. In the story, Abreu describes meeting Barden.

“Through a friend I was introduced to Carl, and ever since we have become friends forever,” Abreu said in the story.

Abreu also has a business called Abreutoxin Venom Laboratories, according to its website, which has a “coming soon” label.

The lawsuit accuses the Reptile Discovery Center of “Negligently failing to inspect or adequately inspect the screening to the cage containing the venomous snake ... to ascertain whether the improperly secured lid constituted a hazard to employees and members of the public utilizing said cage.”

Abreu suffered “pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, permanent and significant scarring, mental anguish” and the expense of medical care, according to the lawsuit.

Barden is a retired airline pilot who has been interested in snakes since he was a youth growing up in New York.

The Reptile Discovery Center is open to the public and people can go there to see venom extracted from snake and look at exhibits holding venomous snakes, including rattlesnakes, cobras and mambas.