SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (AP) _ A snake-handling preacher was charged with assault after he allegedly forced his wife to stick her hand in a snake box and she was bitten twice by a rattler.

''This is not a religious situation,'' Police Chief Keith Smith said. ''Whether this is a snake or a gun, it's the same.''

Glen Dale Summerford, 46, former minister at the Goosepond Pentecostal Holiness Church, was arrested Monday and jailed on $20,000 bail.

His wife, Darlene Summerford, 36, was hospitalized, the police chief said. Her condition was withheld.

Mrs. Summerford was bitten Friday and again Saturday at the couple's home, where officers found 13 rattlesnakes and three copperheads, authorities said.

''I believe the particular religion is one known to handle snakes as part of their meetings,'' the police chief said.

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