The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting a dolphin in Waveland, Mississippi. A necropsy (animal autopsy) revealed that the dolphin was soon to give birth, and her near-term calf died as well.
The Case: According to officials with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the dolphin was shot the last week of April. After her preserved remains were closely examined in mid-July, authorities determined that her death was not a routine stranding, but was the result of being shot.
Animal Cruelty: Securing the serious attention and engagement of law enforcement, prosecutors and residents in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the whole community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and many other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.
Shooting a dolphin, or any marine mammal, is a federal crime, punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.
Dolphins are generally unafraid of boats and people and their graceful appearance and playful behavior has made them a much beloved animal by the American public.
“It takes a truly callous person to shoot such a beautiful animal,” said Sharon Young, the marine field director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The fact that she was pregnant and close to giving birth makes this a double tragedy. We hope our reward will help federal law enforcement officials find the perpetrator of this horrible crime.”
The Investigators: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investigating this case. Anyone with relevant information is asked to call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the Slidell, Louisiana, Enforcement Field Office at 985-643-6232. Tips may be left anonymously.
Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources and support to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty.