Two Bridge City brothers have pleaded guilty to federal wildlife violations in the death of a dolphin.
According to a news release from U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Cory James Moseley, 23, and Cade Ryan Moseley, 18, pleaded guilty to taking a marine mammal in United States waters on Feb. 17, 2015, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin.
12News asked Game Warden Mike Boone with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife if Bottle Nose Dolphins are an endangered species. He said they are not endangered, but they are a protected species because they do not have large numbers.
“(it’s) pretty rare to see them that far inland,” said Boone.
He said the dolphins do appear in Sabine lake from time to time.
According to information presented in court, on July 26, 2014, Cory Moseley and Cade Moseley were fishing on Cow Bayou near Orangefield when they spotted two bottlenose dolphins stranded in the bayou. They shot at the dolphins with a compound bow and Cade Moseley hit one of the dolphins. The dolphin swam away but was mortally wounded. Wildlife agents were notified by a fisherman that there was a dead dolphin in the bayou. The deceased dolphin was recovered and an investigation resulted in federal charges against the Moseley brothers. The second dolphin was located in the bayou and rescued by wildlife agents and SeaWorld San Antonio personnel.
The defendants each face up to one year in federal prison and a $20,000.00 fine. A sentencing date has not been set.
“It is disheartening that individuals would kill a dolphin for the sport of it, especially in today’s age,” said Tracy Dunn, Assistant Director for NOAA OLE. “And, without the determination and skills of the NOAA investigator, supported by CGIS and TPWD, this unnecessary death may have gone unsolved.”
“The Coast Guard is committed to providing the highest level of service to protecting our nation’s valuable natural resources,” said Rear Admiral Kevin S. Cook, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District. “The continued cooperative sharing of professional knowledge and expertise among our inter-agency partners will ensure perpetrators of such horrible acts are held accountable.”
“We are extremely pleased that this case is being resolved,” said Colonel Craig Hunter, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “The dedication, professionalism, and teamwork demonstrated by investigators from NOAA, CGIS, and TPWD proved to be successful in solving this egregious criminal act. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is to be commended for their role and hopefully this prosecution will deter others from illegally taking our natural resources for their personal enjoyment.”
This case was investigated by the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Batte.