West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



In the hills of Appalachia sing the hymns of the faithful, preaching a belief in the handling of snakes to prove loyalty to God. In West Virginia, persons may take up poisonous reptiles and pass them amidst crowds in the name of religion without legal restraints. While other states prohibit snake- handling in the name of safety, West Virginia law remains void on the issue. This Article introduces the practice of snake-handling and examines the risks posed by taking up poisonous animals whose bite may cause serious injury or death. This Article then suggests how the West Virginia law may temper the threat of this vehemently dangerous practice, despite its strong religious underpinnings.



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