April 11, 2019– Mary Greeley News – WILMINGTON, N.C. — Charges have been dropped against a North Carolina man accused of leaving his pet fish behind without food when he was evicted.
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David told news outlets Tuesday that 53-year-old Michael Hinson is no longer charged with animal cruelty and abandonment. He says fish aren’t protected under related statues that define “animal” as amphibians, reptiles, bird and mammals, excluding humans.
Officials say Hinson was evicted from his Wilmington home last month and left behind an unhealthy Oscar fish in a dirty tank. He was arrested last week after officials found the 6-inch fish, which is being nursed back to health at an aquarium store.
The fish was taken to a pet store called the Fish Room where it is recovering, according to store owner Ethan Lane.
“When this fish came in, he was in pretty bad shape. Hole in the head is a parasite that starts in the intestines and works from the inside out, slowly killing the fish,” Lane told the news station.
The disease, which is fatal if left untreated, causes lesions and allows bacteria to get inside a fish.
“Hole in the head is somewhat common in Oscar fish, but to prevent it, it’s imperative you do constant water quality checks and feed your fish properly,” Lane said.
Lane also said Oscars make great pets. “They are very trainable. They have huge personalities.”
New Hanover Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer said the county takes any animal abuse very seriously.
“This is a life just like any dog or cat,” he said.
“If you harm or neglect an animal in New Hanover County, we are coming for you,” Brewer said.
Hinson, meantime, was released from jail on a $4,000 bond.
Sheriff’s Lt. Jerry Brewer said this was the county’s first animal cruelty case involving a fish.
credit: In part with https://www.billoreilly.com/b/Bernies-Taxing-Behavior/-231549287333874687.html