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Enterprise Man Convicted Of Illegal Sale and Transportation of Wild Animals

January 26, 2004

An Enterprise man was convicted in Lee County District Court on 5 counts of illegally transporting wild hogs and three counts of illegal sale of white-tailed deer. Richard Fleming pleaded guilty on all charges. Alabama regulations restrict the sale, transportation and possession of these animals in order to control the growing threat of serious diseases that affect wildlife and livestock.

Fleming’s arrest on May 17, 2003, culminated a six-month investigation by the Conservation Department’s Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries’ Special Investigations Unit and Investigators with the Law Enforcement Unit of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. The arrest was made near the Marvin Community in Lee County by District 4 Conservation officers and A&I investigators.

“The cooperation and perseverance of officers from Conservation and A&I resulted in this conviction,” said M. Barnett Lawley, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “We appreciate their combined efforts and dedication to this task.”

Complaints from the public received by the agencies alleged that Fleming was moving wild hogs in and around the Andalusia area after Agriculture and Industries veterinarians quarantined his holding facility.

According to investigators, Fleming had illegally sold and transported a white-tailed deer to undercover agents. He also had sold and transported 27 wild hogs to Lee County that were captured on Ft. Rucker in Dale and Coffee Counties. Twenty-two of the 27 wild hogs tested positive for pseudorabies and/or brucellosis. The hogs and deer were destroyed to avoid contamination of other wildlife or livestock.

 “Many people do not realize the important responsibilities that the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries is charged with in regard to animal health,” said A&I Commissioner Ron Sparks.  “These hogs not only posed a potential health risk to our state’s animal population but they can also be devastating to row crops and other agricultural interests. I am personally proud of each of my officers and the outstanding job that they do.  I would like to also commend Commissioner Lawley and his officers and the outstanding job that they do.”

Fleming appeared in Lee County District Court on December 11, 2003, and pleaded guilty to selling white-tailed deer and transporting feral (wild) hogs. Fleming was ordered to pay $3,272 in fines and court costs and received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and 2 years probation.

Allan Andress, Chief Enforcement Officer with the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries said, “We also commend District Attorney Nick Abbett for his determination in successfully prosecuting this case. This is part of our ongoing effort to safeguard the health of our native wildlife.”

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