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Old 03-03-2005, 10:26 PM
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Derek Broughton wrote:
Very odd. I can't see how failure to prove cocaine possession gets him off
the wildlife possession charge, and ignorance of the law has never been an
acceptable excuse. Surely, though, he wasn't "in possession" of those 4
toads in the window well. That's where toads go!

More than likely, the animal possession charge was rendered to try to get
evidence on the coccaine possession charge. It would not be the first time
that law enforcement has taken minor law infractions and used it to try to
get evidence or confessions. Perhaps it started out as wildlife officials
trying to cut down on poaching, but usually when it's a kid collecting
wildlife as it sounds like it might have been in this case, they'll go to
educational measures, not court measures. I feel there's more to this
story than the writeup is saying... some reason why officials went to
court in the first place, such as prior suspecions of drug dealing or

If you keep animals, it's always your responsibility to find out how many
your local jurisdiction will allow you to keep, so I don't have much

The laws in such cases are not always obvious. Nor do people always think
about the fact that the toad or turtle found in their "backyard" might
actually be regulated. Even if they do think about it, they might not know
the agency responsible. I looked at the wildlife commission website based
on the hints given in the article, but others might think to ask the city
animal control, which may or may not point them in the right direction
(they're more familar with domestic and nuissance animal laws I've found).
Even knowing the correct agency, it took me about 30 minutes of searching
the Colorado Wildlife website to find a link to the laws and regulations
buried under the Wildlife Commission site:

Looks like they're using Chapter 10 as the law in this case. The "4
animal" limit was per capture with a dozen allowed in aggregate in
captivity for the toads under the "Protected Wildlife" provisions. I
believe the box turtle is listed under this regulation too as the species
matches what is later refered to as "ornate box turtle" even though the
common name listed is not consistent. If true, this then begs the question
of why they were prosecuted for having only 5 turtles at home as that was
well under the dozen allowed by that regulation. Perhaps the issue the
officials had was lack of permit for collecting nongame species, but
again, when there's an 8 yr old in the picture, it should have been
handled as an educational issue and perhaps a fine. I still think there's
more to this story than what was presented.