Posted by spotted owl tastes like chicken on April 04, 2003 at 09:02:36:
Charges are filed in crossbow attack on a sea lion
CRIME: Two men are accused of attempting to kill a marine mammal in Morro Bay. The animal survived.
A former crew member from a San Diego charter fishing boat and a Morro Bay bait seller were charged Thursday in connection with the crossbow shooting of a 5-month-old sea lion pup ó an attack that a prosecutor called despicable.
Anthony Hill, 18, of San Diego and Matthew Lyon, 38, of Morro Bay were each charged with one federal count of illegal taking and attempting to kill a marine mammal, which is a misdemeanor. Also charged was a charter boat based in San Diegoís Fishermanís Landing dubbed Pacific Queen, and the boatís owner, Cavanaugh Sportfishing Inc.
Prosecutors say that on Nov. 4 the men were throwing bait into Morro Bay off the Pacific Queen trying to attract sea lions. Hill, a former boat crew member, reportedly hooked the young sea lion and raised the pup out of the water while Lyon shot the sea mammal in the neck with a metal crossbow bolt. The animal broke away from the hook and dropped back in the bay.
The animal was found two days later by tourists on a Morro Bay waterfront dock with a crossbow bolt protruding from both sides of its neck. It was treated at the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center ó where the female was dubbed Arrow ó and was released into the wild in February.
Sea lions are bright and sociable animals, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Johns. No matter how you look at it, this was a vicious and despicable crime.
Johns said the owner of the Pacific Queen and Cavanaugh Sportfishing, Bill Cavanaugh, 34, of San Diego entered into plea agreements with the government on behalf of the business entities.
The 88-foot Pacific Queen was temporarily stationed in Morro Bay and was being chartered for recreational fishing outings. Lyonís boat, Billy Boy, was docked next to the Pacific Queen.
Cavanaugh said he signed the agreements to avoid an expensive legal battle that could have cost him the boat he has been operating for a year.
Iím not really taking responsibility, Cavanaugh said. One of my crew members had some bad judgment and didnít do the right thing. . . . I have no involvement in this in any way, shape or form, nor do I condone it.
Cavanaugh said Hill was fired. Attempts to contact Hill were unsuccessful.
Under terms of the plea agreement, Cavanaugh is expected to pay a $6,200 fine.
National Marine Fisheries Service Special Agent Roy Torres said a televised appeal for assistance and a $1,500 reward offer produced reports from witnesses who said they heard men bragging about the shooting.
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