DA: Turtle owner won't face prosecution - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

DA: Turtle owner won't face prosecution

Updated:

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Robert Zinn will not face criminal prosecution for the misdemeanor citation he received when state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents seized 103 of his 115 box turtles April 2, saying he did not have the proper permits to house them. 

Zinn tells The Advocate he was happy to learn Wednesday that he will not face criminal prosecution. 

"Aw shucks, I'm not going to have my day in court and prove what idiots they've been," said Zinn. 

For 13 years, Zinn said, Wildlife and Fisheries agents issued him permits to house the turtles. 

In 2012, however, the agency refused to issue Zinn a special-purpose possession permit, citing overcrowding, lack of natural food sources and natural vegetation and infighting within the colony. 

A special-purpose possession permit allows the holder to house animals native to Louisiana. 

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said he decided not to pursue charges because in a letter Zinn received in 1999, a biologist asked him for the species and number of animals that would be permanently held when he applied for a special-purpose possession permit. 

Moore said the words "permanently held" are what he based his decision on. 

"I'm presuming in his favor that the turtles he had in 1999 were the same turtles he had in 2013," Moore said. "He gets the benefit of the doubt." 

Moore said state agents were within their rights to seize the turtles because a technical violation occurred and they showed him proof that the turtles seized were in poor health - more than 25 percent had diseases and two had to be euthanized.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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