Homeless Man Jailed for Steelhead Poaching

As reported by David Sneed in the San Luis Obispo (California) Tribune… “A 23-year old transient was sentenced to 10 … Continued

As reported by David Sneed in the San Luis Obispo (California) Tribune

“A 23-year old transient was sentenced to 10 days in jail on Wednesday for catching and cooking a federally protected steelhead. Victor Manuel Silva was convicted of illegally taking and posessing wildlife…”

Okay, I know, somebody out there is feeling sorry for the guy… he’s hungry, he got busted… at least he’ll get three hots and a cot during his 10 days in the clink. But on the other hand, the story goes on to explain that when the game warden arrived on scene, she found three or four men camped out, cooking the steelhead with sliced lemon and a loaf of sourdough bread. No word on whether they had a nice sauvignon blanc as well, and there’s no confirmation that one of the men said, “Wow, tastes kind of like bald eagle…” There’s also nothing on what the guy used to catch the fish, but I’m pretty darn sure it wasn’t a green-butt skunk.

It’s really not funny; the fish was an egg-carrying female of an extremely threatened strain of steelhead. “Each fish really counts,” Department of Fish and Game Lieutentant Dean Hileman is quoted in the story. “We are talking about a species that is so critical that some subspecies are in danger of going extinct.”

So here’s the question. Should these laws and enforcement stay this tough or get tougher… did the penalty fit the crime? Or, considering that people have already all but obliterated the species through development, pollution, habitat destruction and so forth, is this kind of like handing the bill for everyone’s collective ignorance over the past century to a homeless man? Your call…

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