$5,000 Reward Offered for Information Leading to Arrest of Dolphin Killers

Posted on November 19, 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.

3 thoughts on “$5,000 Reward Offered for Information Leading to Arrest of Dolphin Killers

  1. Billy says:

    The violent and horrific acts against these gentle dolphins sickens me and it haunts me day and night. I just made a donation to the Animal Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the dolphins in hopes that the reward can be increased at some point. Regardless, I am truly grateful to the ALDF for taking the initiative and posting a $5,000 reward.

  2. Jennifer Molidor says:

    Thank you so much Billy for your kind words and generous support in ALDF’s fight to protect these gentle, beautiful animals! We are very grateful indeed!

  3. Elizabeth Belflower says:

    Hello I would like to post my views on this from someone who spends a lot of time as much as I can anyway out in the water with these creatures as a diver and someone who has done a lot of snorkeing and swimming in the Gulf being a Florida native and raised on the Space Coast and spending decades on the Gulf coast I have always been amazed by these wonderful creatures and would never attempt to start an interaction with them not out of fear but respect but as a diver I am always encountering them, sharks and other marine animals and in all these years not once have I ever had any of these creatures even remotely try to harm me I am out with the dolphins, and several species of shark lemon , sand ,bulls and hammerheads mostly and on the rare special occasion the sea turtles and whale sharks I am actively involved in conservation of all species of creatures not just the marine ones which I have a deep abidng respect and love for What is being done to these creatures is absolutely horrendous and the ones doing this should be locked up and the keys thrown to the bottom of the sea forever What kind of monster does this always believed humans are the most dangerous species on the planet and this just proves it now as to who may be doing this it could be anyone a lot of people are jumping on the commercial fishermen who have had a bad history with these creatures could be but some are decent people who are just out to make a living and would never ever harm any dolphin willingly sometimes it does happen by accident and yes some fisherman are known to despise them and kill them good and bad in every bunch of people next lets’s take a look at some of the charter fishermen some are absolutely horrible been on their boats as I every few years do a little catch and release fishing just keeping a couple of fish for a meal or two no large amounts usually on the other end of it out cleaning up the shore and bank of the mess both fresh and saltwater fishermen leave can’t be that hard to just take your used line and put it in a bin at your local sporting goods store I being a cancer patient manage to do it for them what’s their excuse ? There are some horrible atrocitis being done on some of these boats I know from experience of being on them harassing of the local dolphins ,killing of sharks dumping of large amounts of mono line which when I noticed my party immediately demanded to be taken back to shore and was reported to the proper authorities nothing against all charter fishermen have some wonderful friends in the business who are environmentally friendly and would never harm any creature needlessly as I stated earlier good and bad in every group of people next on the list are the tourists some of which are the worst in the lot they get out on jetskis and other watercraft and torment the poor sea creatures especially the dolphins by chasing them and messing with them so wrong but what do people expect when you have a bunch of ill behaved immature people on too much alcohol and illegal drugs and do not enforce the laws because they are afraid to lose the preciuos tourist money not every tourist is like this by no means most are decent and kind people out to enjoy the beach with their families and I have no issues with adults out drinking and partying and having a good time enjoy a beer or two myself every now and then it is the irresponsible idiots I have a problem with who engage in dangeous behavior that might harm our wildlife and children sadly sex on the beach is not just a drink at Panama city Beach seen some atrocious behavior along the strip not a good place to take small children far better place for families is St Andrew’s State Park which in my opinion is one of the best parks in the State of Florida now on the feeding of and swimming with dolphins that should be strictly enforced which in my non expert opininon might be part of the problem nor do I believe in dolphins or any marine mammal being in captivity example is Lolita the Orca in Miami Seaquarium the only 2 times I believe any marine mammal should be in captivity is emergency medical treatment genuine scientific research for a very short time example tagging and release and the last one captive dolphins used in therapy programs for the mentally and physically ill and only under the best conditions for the creature and qualified therapists managing the treatment of the individuals and closely monitored to make sure all is done as it should be because these creatures perform amazing things for these poor children and adults my being one of them they are truly great healers been helped by them tremendously when doctors said nothing could be done to help me the place I was treated at has an absolutely stellar program and all is done to assure the happiness and well being of their dolphins and their patients some of these facilities are questionable in my opinion in their operation but some do a great service for hurting individuals who desperatley need these creatures help and benefit greatly from them and I speak from experience on this and they aren’t the only creatures who help us and I will give an example of this and why I believe these creatures should be more highly protected several yeras back I had an accident and was severly injured by having both legs ran over and crushed by machinery and I owe a debt of gratitude to several in my recovery a pod of wild dolphins ,several awesome dolphins in therapy programs, 3 awesome therapy horses and one very special German Shepherd named Gator who become my service animal and constant companion , a great Orthopedic Surgeon who took my case when every other doctor said I would never stand again much less walk , swim or dive and many great physical therapists who though they put me in excruciating pain for years 5 times a week they all helped me get my life back As to the encounter with the wild pod of dolphins to me it showed me just how intelligent and caring of humans they can be this was not any encounter I in any way encouraged they approached me not the other way around I believe wild creatures should be left alone to live their lives as they should be with very little human intervention in the wild except habitat protection and things in this area of help I will try to be brief as I can on this encounter This happened during the first few months after my accident and during the time I had been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy due to the accident and followed up with a diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer both diseases which are basically hopeless cases as far as treatment best can be done is managing the excruciating pain involved and emotional and psychiatric problems involved and giving patient the support they need to fight I naturally was an emotional and physical train wreck and was trying to hang in as best as I could I basically had no support from family or friends they tried best they could but sometimes you have to fight your own battles in life well I decided after hearing my great news a day at the beach might help and do me some good so I head off to my favorite place down there will not say exactly where for the protection of the extremely friendly dolphins that hang out here which I had always had encounters with before in the past just them checking me out diving or snorkeling and going about their business just hanging out nearby sometimes well on this day I manage to drag myself down to the beach can walk a small amount at the time with a cane with a long rest after usually it consisted of a few steps and a lot of falling down getting back up and trying again and sand has to be the hardest stuff to walk in with a cane I finally get in the water all this has caused me to encounter the worst pain day of my life found out screaming and getting upset only makes pain worse over time in therapy I wade out slowly a pretty good distance really not caring if I get caught in a riptide and get carried out to sea never to be seen again tired of it all sick and tired of the constant unrelenting pain after a while I see a dolphin out playing he plays around a few minutes then starts circling around me at a distance eventually coming pretty near then he just leaves all of a sudden I stand there a good while and in a bit I see a few more dolphins out playing at a distnce think it is pretty cool always loved to watch them play a few minutes later I feel the most gentle bump on my right leg the one that was damaged the most in the accident and caused me the most problems the dolphin swims off comes back in a few minutes and does the same thing and in a few minuntes I am surrounded by a huge pod of dolphins witnesses say they counted at least 40 this day out swimming around and playing naturally some of us out in the water have dolphins all around us I keep getting my leg bumped over and over then it increases in intensity and I am bumped further out in a little deeper water then it hits me they aren’t trying to hurt me they want me to move around some next bump knocks me down and I have to start swimming oh man it was painful but worth it then It hits me just who these dolphins are recognize some of them by the markings it is the same pod I have been encountering in all these years in my dives around here when everyone had basically given up on my getting better especially me I had reached my lowest point life gave me a little surprise the dam had burst I cried like I never had before and let go of all my anger , fear of the future and decided I would fight and keep fighting it was not a simple test of my faith it was a wake up call I could just lie there and die or I could gather up my inner strength and fight I chose the latter it took 2 years of excruciating pain and the help of the ones I mentioned earlier who gave me so much help through it all I spent a good while out there that day stretching muscles that had been so horrible messed up and enjoying the company of this special pod of dolphins and their young one first time in many years I had even laughed this last cancer battle not being my first nor the accident with my legs the only one of those either had fell and totally trashed both knees in a fall a few months earlier before I got ran over I had been talking to several ladies in a group from up North that day down visiting the beach and got acquainted with them about where we were from and the like and life in general beforehand a couple of weeks later I received a package in the mail from them in it is a bunch of photos they took that day and a video one had recorded of the entire thing most of them were in the water with me this day and all of us came away a different person from our encounter with this pod of dolphins we all knew we had witnessed an absolute miracle of nature that day all were going through our own separate battles I took the photos placed them in a frame on my bedroom wall and put my favorite one of me and the dolphin that kept bumping my leg beside my bed a really nice one of her in the water beside me with her baby I have looked at that photo every day since then and have played the recording numerous times I when I felt like giving up but it somehow gives me strength it was an encounter I will never forget I eventually got approval to go to a wonderful facility to be helped by the captive dolphins and involved with a wonderful lady and her therapy horses got lucky and was given my best friend ever Gator as my service animal having had these awesome dogs my entire life no better breed in the world many are the times I would want to just sit around and do nothing but he wouldn’t have that just sit there with his leash in his mouth as if to say okay get up let’s go for a walk I eventually got out of that wheelchair and threw away my cane the chair went to a paraplegic veteran I saw on the sidewalk one day traveling in a nearby town his manual chair was tied together with clothes hangers I knew then who needed it more life has a way of working out sometimes with people you never dream you will meet I needed to get out of my wheelchair someone needed it more than me I am thankfully back to diving and horseback riding involved heavily in horse and German Shepherd rescue and rehabilitation and do all I can for my friends in the Gulf sadly a couple of the dolphins found dead around here were from the very same pod we had the encounter with that day heartbreaking doesn’t even come close to the emotion I feel over this to me it is more than just a dead dolphin lying on the beach I hope and pray these monsters are caught that are doing this makes me so mad and sickened by it Have you approached any of the large hotels surely they should get together and help with increasing the amount of the reward if all of them or some of them just helped a little on making the reward larger can’t be good for their business dead dolphins tend to make tourist think twice about visting just an idea I came up with they could afford it so could most of the tourist industry down here on the Gulf people do come down here to see our dolphins and most people are extremely fond of them in this area I wish I could do more financially but I have to watch every penny most of which goes to my healthcare and rescue work still got that nasty cancer to deal with but I am fighting it best I can wish I could find out who was doing it for several reasons first justice for these creatures and the reward money could be used for conservation or rescue of animals everywhere or the homeless vets out there maybe you could get some help from the tourist injury would be super nice if you could hopefully these creeps will be found soon thanks so much for trying to help with this matter appreciate the opportunity to state my opinion on this forever may dolphins everywhere swim free and unharmed by man and be left alone in my encounters never attempted to touch or feed one they are more than capable of getting their own food watched them tons of times they are extremely good at it in cases where a human is harmed in my opinion it is their fault same with people messing with snakes I am involved with getting these misunderstood creatures put on the endangered species list also people pick up or harass a snake then get all upset because they get bit idiots what do they expect ? never had any issues with snakes in my 50 plus years of wildlife experience in the mountains , deserts , forests or even in the swamps where I spend a lot of time and I have seen hundreds and have quite a few in my backyard wildlife habitat people need to leave wild animals alone they are exactly that wild not for our entertainment but for the joy of observing them as they should be and to fulfil their part in nature makes me sad someone can be stupid and harass a wild creature and get hurt but it is the animal who pays the ultimate price for it people need to realize you are in their backyard and have to go by their rules look but don’t touch and never feed one unless it is food put in a birdfeeder or plants to help bees and butterflies and other creatures thanks so much and have a great day

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