Contact: Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-542-6102, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Newark man arrested for animal cruelty, wildlife violations
NEWARK (Nov. 13, 2013) – Following an investigation, DNREC Natural Resources Police, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Agents on Nov. 7 arrested a Newark man on charges of animal cruelty and wildlife violations in connection with keeping a Coopers hawk, pigeons and rabbits on his property.
Steven Cheng, 43, was arrested and charged with two counts of animal cruelty, unlicensed trapping, illegally trapping a hawk, possession of prohibited hunting/trapping device and creating a criminal nuisance. The hawk was confiscated and taken to Tri-State Bird Rescue in Newark, where it was evaluated and released back into the wild.
Cheng was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 11 in New Castle and released on his own recognizance, with the following conditions: cleaning the pigeon coops every one to three days, cleaning rabbit hutches daily and reducing the number of rabbits. Trial at a later date is pending in the Court of Common Pleas.
Raptors – including hawks, owls and eagles – are important to maintaining healthy ecosystems and wildlife diversity and are protected birds under both state and federal laws and regulations, including the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. It is illegal to capture or possess these species without a special permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or a special permit from DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Agents worked with New Castle County Police, the Kent County SPCA and the Delaware Division of Public Health on the case.
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx.
Vol. 43, No. 435