Tag Archives: wildlife

Florida Woman Charged for Keeping Raccoons as Pets

Candidly, I did not know it was illegal to keep raccoons as pets, and have never seen anybody charged with it. The Florida administrative code has classified several native species so that they cannot be kept without a permit if they are taken from the wild. Included under this classification are also skunks, bats, fox and whitetail deer- so no trying to keep Bambi! There is no restriction on keeping rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks and most of the commonly kept pet animals.

Tori Parsons

Tori Parsons, of Venice, Florida was cited after a neighbor reported she was keeping racoons as pets. She only ended up getting arrested when she failed to appear for court, and got a bench warrant, though she has since bonded out. The charge is criminal, but it is only a second degree misdemeanor, the least serious criminal offense in Florida. FWC gave her three days to transport and surrender the animals to a licensed wildlife facility, and it was only when she failed to do so that she was cited.

Rodney Knox

As always, Crimcourts will stay on top of all wildlife related criminal news. Which reminds me, I didn’t get to report on the recent story about Florida Flying Squirrels. National Geographic reports that thousands of Southern Flying Squirrels may have been illegally trapped for the pet trade, and shipped overseas to places like South Korea. Rodney Knox and 5 of his associates are facing charges as serious as racketeering for the ongoing  operation. Knox runs a farm and breeding operation, but FWC alleges that was a front for an illegal capture business, and Knox has a history running afoul of breeding regulations, including a warning for trapping flying squirrels.  This operation rivals the time FWC set up a fake alligator farm to catch egg poachers!

Florida Man Convicted of Smuggling Water Monitor Lizards

Akbar Akram with a Water Monitor lizard

A Florida man was sentenced for his part in a scheme to traffic in Water Monitor lizards from the Philippines. Adbar Akram and an accomplice in Massachusetts imported lizards that were taped into socks, and then concealed in audio speakers and other electronic equipment. Akram admitted to his part in the scheme, and to selling lizards to buyers around the United States. All this is illegal, and he was sentenced to 4 years of probation with 90 days home detention and 288 hours of community service.  Don’t smuggle wildlife!

FWC Breaks up a Turtle Trafficking Ring

Michael Boesenberg

Two Fort Myers men are charged in a turtle trafficking ring that may have netted tens of thousands of dollars. It’s the largest turtle theft bust in Florida history, and the turtles recovered had a black market value of $200,000. FWC alleges that Michael Clemons and Michael Boesenberg were selling wild-caught turtles to overseas interests for money and sometimes for marijuana.

Some of the rescued turtles

Michael Clemons

It’s important to police wildlife violations to protect the fauna of Florida. FWC says Lee County was hardest hit, and that local turtle populations may be substantially affected. The good news is that more than 600 turtles were rescued and returned to the wild.

FWC indicates this bust was related to the Gator in Yoga Pants bust with turtles in a Ninja Turtle backpack arrest from a few months back. FWC has more details on the concerns of wildlife trafficking.

Watermelon Thief

alligator watermelonThe Florida Agricultural Crimes Intelligence Unit shared this photo of an alligator sneaking into a watermelon field and making off with a melon. This pic was snapped at a field in Hendry County last week. I’m glad they shared.

I didn’t even know alligators would eat melons… look how sneaky he is…