A North Carolina man is facing what might be a first-of-its-kind criminal charge in his county, according to local media reports.
Michael Ray Hinson, 53, was charged Wednesday with multiple misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals for allegedly abandoning his pet fish after he was evicted from his home in March, WECT reports.
Lt. Jerry Brewer of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office told the station that it is the first time someone has been charged with abusing a fish in the county.
The 6-inch Oscar fish is valued between $40 and $50, The (Columbia, South Carolina) State reported, citing an employee at the store that is caring for the fish.
The fish was suffering from a parasite called “hole in the head” and had allegedly survived by eating cockroaches that fell in its tank, Ethan Lane, an employee at The Fish Room, told The State.
The fish’s owner was evicted March 22 and deputies found the abandoned fish several days later swimming in a dirty tank, WITN reports.
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