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Posted by W von Papinešu on January 25, 2003 at 17:05:03:
TIMES-STANDARD (Eureka, California) 25 January 03 Illegal reptile owner sentenced
Eureka: The McKinleyville man who had more than 20 reptiles in his home illegally last February was sentenced in Humboldt County Superior Court on Friday.
Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson sentenced Ronnie Allan Miller, 23, to 60 hours of community service, a $1,140 fine and two years of probation.
California Department of Fish and Game wardens went to Miller's home on Feb. 7, 2002, to investigate possible violations. Wardens found numerous metal and wood cages with copperhead snakes and snapping turtles. An alligator was found in an aquarium in the home.
Possession of these animals is prohibited without a Department of Fish and Game permit.
Wardens did report that the animals were in good condition and well cared for.
"Our Fish and Game laws are designed to protect people as well as animals," said Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos. "Even though Mr. Miller took good care of his animals, the Department of Fish and Game takes these actions seriously and we enforce the law."
The District Attorney's Office recommended a lighter sentence because of Miller's cooperation with the investigation.
Miller chose to return the prohibited reptiles to Texas. His other options were returning them to their point of origin or killing them.