Old stuffed eagle lands would-be seller in hot water

Wildlife NewsOctober 25, 2008
Old stuffed eagle lands would-be seller in hot water By DEAN PRITCHARD, SUN MEDIA

http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1270555

Alain Arbez had no idea unloading an old family keepsake would ruffle so many feathers.



That's what happens when you try to sell an endangered animal, even one that's been dead and stuffed for more than 40 years.

Arbez, 54, pleaded guilty Thursday to selling a bald eagle without a permit, an offence under the Wildlife Act.

"This is a first for me, in terms of dealing with a bald eagle," said Judge Linda Giesbrecht.

Arbez came to the attention of Manitoba Conservation officials in September after placing a classified ad offering a bald eagle mount for sale.

Court heard he had tried selling the stuffed animal -- which had previously belonged to his father -- at a garage sale but found no takers.

An undercover Conservation officer arranged a meeting with Arbez last October and purchased the eagle for $200.

Arbez "wasn't aware it was wrong to sell this item," said defence lawyer Michael Green. "He had nothing to do with the demise of this bird. It had been sitting around in his family for 40 years and he just wanted to get rid of it."

The maximum fine for the offence is $10,000.

Giesbrecht said the "unusual circumstances" justified a reprimand and fine of $200. She also ordered that the bird be forfeited.

And where has the eagle landed?

"I imagine it will be in a Conservation office somewhere in the province," Crown attorney Sean Brennan told court.

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