Hunting preserve arrests raises questions - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Hunting preserve arrests raises questions

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The commissioner of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says recent allegations of an illegal hunting preserve in Fairlee shows a need for tougher penalties.

51 year old Steven Hill and 21 year old Chiaki Ito of Fairlee are accused of operating an unlicensed captive hunting facility there. Prosecutors say they charged customers up to $6,000 to hunt exotic animals.

But, the pair only currently face about $7,000 in penalties. Fish & Wildlife officials say that's not enough.

"Most of the feedback that I have received since we pressed theses charges, and since this has been out in the press, have been folks who are concerned that these are woefully inadequate penalties for an action like this and I would agree with those folks," said Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. 

As part of the Fish and Wildlife department investigation, two under-cover game wardens paid $750 to hunt a Spanish goat and wild boar.

About 200 animals remain at the "Hunt the Ridge" facility.

The couple is due in court in February.

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