January 26, 2007
CONTACT: Capt. Mary Sumner (850) 595-8905
An 18-year-old Pensacola man now knows citizens of his area and the local courts have little tolerance for repeated wildlife crimes.
Joshua Wayne Douglas and a 16-year-old Milton youth faced a Santa Rosa County judge last week after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers charged them with killing three small spotted fawns on Christmas Eve near Munson on Division of Forestry property and shooting from a roadway. A Wildlife Alert tip led officers to the pair.
Douglas pled guilty and was sentenced to 120 days in jail and 30 hours of community service, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $330 court costs, had his hunting privileges revoked for life and forfeited the shotgun used to kill the deer. The juvenile received probation.
It was Douglas’ second time before a Santa Rosa County judge in the past two months for shooting deer illegally or at night. He and an accomplice were charged Nov. 5 for night hunting deer after the pilot of an FWC airplane and ground units spotted the pair as they attempted to shoot a deer using a spotlight.
In that case, Douglas had to pay $500 in fines and court costs, was sentenced to 10 hours of community service and had his hunting license suspended for three years. The other hunter was fined $1,353.50 and ordered to perform 30 hours of community service, and his hunting license was suspended for three years.
A new Florida law allows local courts to deal seriously with repeat offenders. When repeat offenders’ violations occur within specified times, they face tougher penalties with each conviction.
“This just shows the serious attitude the criminal justice system takes with wildlife law violations,” said FWC Capt. Mary Sumner, who supervises officers in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. “In this case there were three small fawns that a number of locals had gotten used to seeing as they drove by the property every day.”
Florida is now a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, a consortium of 24 states, electronically linked to share information about persons whose hunting or fishing privileges are suspended or revoked. There are 12-13 additional states in the process of joining the compact.
Douglas may not hunt in any state that is a member of the compact.
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