Too often we hear stories about individuals who hoard cats and dogs. Now comes a case in northeastern Pennsylvania of wild animal hoarding.
Stephen Andrew Moore, 46, of Tannersville, Monroe County, pleaded guilty to what the Pennsylvania Game Commission called an unusual form of poaching: possession of wildlife illegally taken from the wild for “a hobby that got out of control."
On Thursday Moore pled guilty to 30 counts of illegal possession of various species ranging from blue jays to raccoons, from chipping sparrows to gray squirrels, from groundhogs to purple finches, according to the game commission As part of the plea agreement, charges against Moore for cruelty to animals were withdrawn. A judge ordered Moore to pay $2,250 in fines, and $750 in reimbursement to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for expenses incurred treating the wildlife that survived.
In May, game officers followed up on a tip and went to Moore’s home in Pocono Township to investigate alleged illegal possession of birds.
“When we arrived, we saw several cages and multiple bird traps on the front porch,”Officer Scott Malicky said. “Also visible from the front porch were several bird traps in the backyard.”
The following day, officers returned to the home with a search warrant and they found dozens of animals in poor health, living in filthy cages. A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of 13 goldfinches; 11 pine siskins (like the one pictured above); 7 house finches; 5 dark-eyed juncos; 4 purple finches; 3 blue jays; 3 gray squirrels; 2 groundhogs; 2 raccoons; 2 indigo buntings; 1 chipping sparrow; 2 black-capped chickadees; 2 rose-breasted grosbeaks; 1 cardinal; 1 brown-headed cowbird; 1 house sparrow; 1 mourning dove; and five others needing identification due to decomposition.
The birds and mammals, as well as some of the enclosures, were transferred to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for care. Many of the birds required beak trimming, nail trimming and antibacterial medication in their drinking water, and one of the raccoons is suffering nutritional problems requiring dietary supplements, the commission said in a press release.
Katherine Uhler, who runs Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, said all of the birds were “underweight, suffering from neglect and had nutritional problems.” Since being housed at her facility, 20 of the birds have died due to the poor condition they were in when they arrived.