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Orange County News For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek March 31, 2021 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler Commends Department of Environmental Conservation Police for Enforcing Laws Against the
Sale of Wild Animals
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler commended the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police for their enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of wild animals in Orange County, and all of New York State. In one recent matter an individual was prosecuted for the Sale of Wild Animals in violation of the Environmental Conservation Law for selling juvenile alligators, which were being sold as “dwarf alligators”. The alligators were American alligators which can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds, although they normally grow to less than eleven feet and weigh less than 700 pounds. A permit is required in New York State to sell or possess alligators.
“Not only is it important that the public not be defrauded when they purchase an animal, but some species can be dangerous to the owner as well as to the environment,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “The sale of alligators is regulated in New York State because of the size and strength of these animals, as well as the fact that in the wild they would be considered an invasive species which could disrupt New York’s natural species. Although American alligators are no longer considered to be an endangered species, their skins are virtually identical to the skins of endangered crocodilians, such as the black caiman, and the unregulated sale of American alligators could further endanger theses other species, since it takes an expert to distinguish between their skins after they are made into products.”
In 2020, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office partnered with the Environmental Conservation Police to prosecute an individual in the business of illegally possessing and selling certain venomous snakes in violation of the Environmental Conservation Law’s prohibition against the Illegal Commercialization of Prohibited Species. Some of these snakes included Gaboon vipers, puff adders and various Asian pit-vipers. These snakes were extremely dangerous that were sent to the Bronx Zoo, one of the very few organizations in our area authorized under the law to possess those types of snakes.
“We are fortunate in Orange County to be surrounded by many beautiful natural venues that provide opportunities for hikers, campers, sportsmen, and those who generally enjoy nature, “ said District Attorney Hoovler. “I appreciate and commend the New York State Environmental Conservation Police for their ongoing efforts and cooperation with my office to keep Orange County safe and as unspoiled by contaminants and invasive species as possible.”
This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.