PENNSYLVANIA -- A turtle was killed by suspects accused of exploding two M-80 firecrackers on its shell in Lancaster County.
The explosion happened at 6:55 p.m. Aug. 3 in the 1100 block of North Penryn Road, Penn Township, Northern Lancaster County Regional Police said Wednesday.
The suspects are accused of placing two M-80 firecrackers on the shell of the turtle and lighting the fuse, causing the death of the reptile, police said.
A crater was found, in what appeared to be remains of a large turtle, including bone fragments and biological remains. Witnesses provided a description of a truck seen at the scene, and police were able to identify three suspects.
Charged were Taylor James Geib, 21, of the first block of North Colebrook Road, Manheim; Austin Mathew Garner, 21, of the 2000 block of Mountain Road, Manheim; and a 17-year-old juvenile, whose name was not provided by police.
The turtle wasn't a pet, but a wild turtle, possibly a snapping turtle, Lt. George Pappas said. It was larger than a box turtle, but not a full-grown turtle, he said.
"They found it in a rural area, saw it and decided to do this," he said. Pappas said he doesn't know the motive for the stunt. "Young and poor judgment," he surmised.
The suspects were charged with prohibited offensive weapons and criminal conspiracy.
Pappas said animal cruelty charges can only be filed for domesticated and zoo animals under the Pa. Crimes Code.
The Pa. Fish and Boat Commission has been notified, and further charges could be filed, Pappas said. Turtles, which are reptiles, fall under that agency, rather than the Pa. Game Commission.
Eric Levis, Fish & Boat Commission spokesman, said they are reviewing the case, and charges could be filed.
(PennLive - Aug 24, 2016)