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Posted by W von Papinešu on November 20, 2002 at 20:28:29:
COURIER & PRESS (Evanstown, Indiana) 20 November 02 Man wins right to exhibit alligator snapping turtles
Indianapolis: State officials gave a man a preliminary OK to make money by taking his 165-pound alligator snapping turtle on tour.
The Indiana Natural Resources Commission voted Tuesday to amend a state rule to allow Rusty Reed of Churubusco to exhibit Crunch, who is estimated to be 200 years old, and three other turtles.
The commission vote followed a recommendation by state lawmakers the northeast Indiana man had lobbied on the issue.
DNR spokesman Stephen Sellers said the amended rule would allow someone owning an alligator snapping turtle before 1998 to use it for commercial purposes. The change is meant to affect only Reed's case.
Reed, 39, bought the alligator snapping turtles legally from a licensed holder in Georgia about 10 years ago. He recently decided to exhibit the reptiles to earn money to help pay for their care.
The state rule, however, said an animal cannot be used for a commercial purpose unless the person is issued a commercial license by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regulates only warm-blooded mammals, excluding reptiles like the turtles.
An administrative law judge in July dismissed Reed's appeal for an educational permit.