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Three Men Charged With Selling Exotic Animals
Three suspects found selling rare and exotic animals as pets in Bristol, Va., were apprehended Friday.
Norman Henry Balthis and Corey Lane Edwards, both of Bristol, Va., and Brian D. Layell of Bristol, Tenn., were charged Friday with illegal sale and possession of endangered species and native Virginia wildlife. The three are charged with six felonies involving the sale of wild animals, 24 misdemeanors relating to the possession of wild animals without a permit, and four misdemeanors for the failure to provide adequate care to the animals.
In the state of Virginia, it is unlawful to sell or traffic endangered species or other wildlife without a permit.
Animal Adventures, located at 2703 Lee Highway in Bristol, Va., made no attempt to hide their activities. A sign, large enough to be seen by drivers and pedestrians, boasted "live exotic animals" on the front of the building.
After issuing a search warrant on 18 May, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) game wardens, Special Law Assistance Patrol team members, biologists, and the Bristol police went into the Animal Adventures pet store to rescue a host of native and exotic animals, including alligators, cobras, lizards, rare cats, rattlesnakes, toads, turtles, and mountain lions.
The Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Bristol announced that a court date has been set for 15 July in the city's General District Court.
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