New features are coming soon. Login with Facebook to get an early start and help us test them out!
For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.
Thursday, Apr 30, 1998County: Talbot
Disposition: State Citation
Person of Interest: (name undisclosed) Noah's Ark
Following a six-month investigation conducted across the state, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) have charged 24 pet stores with selling or offering native and/or endangered reptiles and amphibians for sale. One shop was charged with unlawful possession of an American Alligator.
NRP officers conducted surveillance and purchase activities at 79 pet shops in 11 counties. Forty-five of the shops inspected were found to have reptiles and/or amphibians for sale, and 25 of those were found to be in violation of Maryland's reptile and amphibian regulations.
"Of the pet shops inspected, only three had a permit to sell native species of reptiles and amphibians," said NRP Supt. Col. John W. Rhoads. "The number of stores in violation, more than 50 percent, could have been much higher, but the native or protected species some shops advertised were out of stock during our site visits."
NRP's Special Operations Division began "Operation Pet Shop" May 21 and concluded its work yesterday. Periodic complaints and an active black market dealing in reptiles and amphibians led the agency to launch the probe and examine the extent of the problem in Maryland.
Among the species of native and endangered animals seized as part of the operation were: a 4-foot alligator, two barking tree frogs, four green tree frogs, three spiny softshell turtles, four leopard frogs, garter and ribbon snakes. Undersized species seized included one painted turtle, four yellow sliders, and five red sliders. The undersized turtles were seized under state health department regulations because of the salmonella threat the creatures pose.
"It is legal to possess and sell native species of reptiles and amphibians according to the regulations adopted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources [DNR] in 1993," said Glenn Therres, DNR's wildlife biologist in charge of reptile and amphibian conservation. "One of the purposes of the regulations was to allow the trade of reptiles and amphibians, but not at the expense of native populations. "This operation was important because it sends a message to the pet industry that the sale of native species must be in accordance with state law," Therres added. "It also goes a long way toward educating the public before they consider purchasing reptiles, amphibians and other exotic species."
Seven violations were issued in Montgomery County, five in Anne Arundel County and four in Prince George's County. Allegany, Talbot and Wicomico counties each had two stores in violation; while Caroline, Washington and Worcester counties each had one store in violation. Dorchester and Somerset counties had no pet shops remaining in operation. Homes are being sought for the animals seized during "Operation Pet Shop" at appropriate wildlife care facilities. Maryland's NRP is the only agency mandated by state law, specifically to enforce conservation and boating laws.
The following pet shops, listed by county, were charged with selling native reptiles and amphibians without a permit during Maryland Natural Resources Police's "Operation Pet Shop." The charge carries a maximum first time offense penalty of $1,500.
Fins and Feathers Pet Center-Germantown
Gaithersburg Pet Center-Gaithersburg
Pet Supplies Plus-Silver Spring
Totally Fish-Silver Spring
Village Pet Center-Gaithersburg
All About Pets-Crofton
Apet of Edgewater-Edgewater
House of Tropicals-Glen Burnie
Columbia Kennels and Pet Center-Seabrook
Eden Pet Supply and Aquarium-Brentwood
National Petland of Maryland-Marlow Heights
Tropical Fish City-Laurel
Exotic Pet Shop-Cumberland
Fins and Things-Easton
Salisbury Super Pet-Salisbury
Cypress Villa Little Jungle Pets-Pocomoke
The Critter Corral in Greensboro (Caroline County) faces the additional charge of possession of an alligator. That charge carries a maximum $1,000 fine.
The Gaithersburg Pet Center and Apet of Annapolis also were cited for selling protected species of reptiles.
"Operation Pet Shop" cases will be heard in District Court in the appropriate county.
- DNR Web - November 20, 1998
Note: Classifications and other fields should not be used to determine what specific charges the suspect is facing or was convicted of - they are for research and statistical purposes only. The case report and subsequent updates outline the specific charges. Charges referenced in the original case report may be modified throughout the course of the investigation or trial, so case updates, when available, should always be considered the most accurate reflection of charges.
For more information regarding classifications and usage of this database, please visit the database notes and disclaimer.