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Case of shot dolphin in Louisiana has a reward

The recent discovery of a dolphin that had been shot to death in Louisiana has left some groups up in arms. A reward of $1,500 has been offered by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and that reward could eventually lead to someone being accused of a crime.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act, a law passed in 1972, prohibits feeding, harming, killing or harassing wild dolphins. According to that law, any person found violating this act can be prosecuted criminally or civilly and may be penalized with $100,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. With such severe penalties, clearly anyone accused of intentionally harming a dolphin could benefit from an experienced defense attorney in order to effectively address the charges from the beginning.

According to reports, the dolphin was found on the state refuge near Grand Isle during September. Evidence showed that it had been shot on the right side near its blowhole. The person conducting the autopsy on the animal discovered a bullet in its lung.

This is not the only dolphin death at the hands of humans in recent history. During this past summer, a dolphin was found dead and it had been stabbed in the head with a screwdriver. Reports had come in days before the body was found, indicating that the dolphin had been swimming near the border between Alabama and Florida, likely with the screwdriver already in its head. A $3,500 reward from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has not led to any good leads in that case.

Unlike the two aforementioned dolphin cases, some have been prosecuted. Separate charter boat captains were sentenced in 2006 and 2007 both for shooting at dolphins - one shot because a dolphin was approaching his boat, the other did so because the dolphin had grabbed a customer's hook which had a fish on it. Another case saw a man convicted in 2009 to two years in prison and three more years on supervised probation because he was allegedly throwing pipe bombs at the animals. His prison time was more than the allotted amount for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act because he had been convicted of carrying a firearm after a prior felony conviction.

Source: WVUE, "NOAA: Dolphin found in Louisiana was shot to death," Sept. 25, 2012

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