Dayton: State should get tough on wildlife poachers - Alleged Frazee snapping turtle poachers fines could be minimal
ST. PAUL - The Becker County attorney says Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's reaction to how she handled an alleged turtle poaching scheme is off base. Gretchen Thilmony said Wednesday that Dayton is wrong to blame her office for downgrading the penal...
ST. PAUL - The Becker County attorney says Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's reaction to how she handled an alleged turtle poaching scheme is off base.
Gretchen Thilmony said Wednesday that Dayton is wrong to blame her office for downgrading the penalty for the alleged turtle takers. In a statement, Thilmony said that the case of Frazee residents Kevin R. Ketter, 54, Jordan M. Ketter, 21, and Darwin D. Bartel, 54, has not even come to her office.
Dayton on Tuesday said he was disgusted at a Becker County attorney’s action to trivialize the penalties for alleged turtle poachers.
“It's just appalling to me,” he said of his impression that the country attorney would fine the Frazee men $185 each. The Department of Natural Resources says the three were caught with nearly 3,000 pounds of turtle meat and dozens of shells and live turtles.
Thilmony said Dayton spoke too soon.
“The Becker County attorney’s office is not yet involved in any of these cases and will not be until/unless these defendants come to court ... and plead 'not guilty,'" Thilmony's statement said.
State law says that the Ketters and Bartel can simply plead guilty and pay a fine. The men were charged with misdemeanor offenses for the alleged turtle taking.
A Becker County deputy court administrator said that the men have until Nov. 19 to pay those fines.
For Bartel and Jordan Ketter the fine would be $185 each. Dayton on Tuesday said that fine was far too small. For Kevin Ketter, the fine would be far larger: $1,670.
On Tuesday, reporters twice asked Dayton about the turtle case. He said the state should get tough on wildlife poachers and said such crimes are "a total disregard for the laws and ethics of Minnesota."
By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, St. Paul Pioneer Press
The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.