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Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) arrested two Clay County teenagers Friday morning on charges of torturing a gopher tortoise.
Danielle Susan Dionne, 15, and Jennifer Emoke Greene, 18, have been arrested on charges of felony cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony, and taking, harassing, harming or killing a gopher tortoise, a second-degree misdemeanor.
On July 15, the FWC received a tip about the torture and death of a gopher tortoise. FWC and Clay County Sheriff’s Office investigators immediately followed up on the information.
“We take these issues very seriously,” said Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “We appreciated the help from the public and our partners in working to protect our valuable natural resources.”
The FWC worked with the State Attorney’s Office of the Fourth Judicial Circuit to decide the appropriate charges related to the crime.
“We will not tolerate this behavior in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. We are committed to fully prosecuting those responsible for the torture and death of this vulnerable and threatened species,” said State Attorney Angela Corey.
If convicted, Greene faces up to five years in prison on the animal cruelty charge. The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
Dionne’s case will be prosecuted in the juvenile system. Due to this fact, there will be no further comment on her case.