$5,000 Reward Offered for Information Leading to Arrest of Dolphin KillersNovember 19th, 2012
For immediate release
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF
GULFPORT, Miss. — The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s) who brutally slaughtered and mutilated dolphins off the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Marine authorities, who believe that the offender(s) are on a killing spree, note that the dolphins are not only being killed, but also mutilated. On Friday, a team from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) found a dolphin with her lower jaw missing. Last weekend, a dolphin was shot through his abdomen by a 9mm gun. Other dolphins have had stab wounds.
Cruelty to dolphins, which includes harassing, harming, or feeding wild dolphins, is a federal crime. Under the provision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that provides for penalties—16 USC § 1375 (a)—offenders can be fined civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation. Criminal penalties include up to $20,000 per violation and/or one year in prison for each violation. Feeding wild dolphins is included in the act because it causes them to become trusting of humans and to approach fishing boats for food. Recreational and commercial fishermen are asked for especially increased vigilance and to report anyone harming dolphins.
Recent months have seen an increase in these ruthless attacks. In Louisiana, a dolphin washed up with her tail cut off. In Alabama, a dolphin was stabbed with a screwdriver and killed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has put law enforcement and coastal service teams on “heightened awareness,” asking agencies to document every dolphin found as they build a case to prosecute offenders.
“The individuals responsible for these attacks pose a serious threat to our communities. Anyone capable of such brazen cruelty is a menace not only to marine mammals, but also to humans,” says Stephen Wells, ALDF executive director. “It is well-established that abusers repeat violent crimes against helpless animals, and often go on to victimize people as well.”If you have information relating to the identity of the person or persons who mutilated and killed Gulf Coast dolphins, please contact the Animal Legal Defense Fund at 707-795-2533, x1010.