Alberta man guilty of illegally importing rattlesnakes and scorpions

EDMONTON, Alta. -- October 18, 2011 -- Terrell John Gruse, a resident of Edmonton, Alberta, was convicted on October 13, 2011, for illegally importing rattlesnakes and scorpions into Canada. His violations include two counts under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) and one count under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Following the conviction, Gruse was sentenced to pay $10,000 in penalties of which $1,000 is a fine and $9,000 a contribution to the Environmental Damages Fund. He was also ordered to pay $1400 towards the care of the seized animals.

Following an investigation by Environment Canada, Gruse was charged in 2009 at the Kingsgate border crossing near Cranbrook, British Columbia. The investigation revealed that the snakes had been smuggled into Canada after being unlawfully harvested from the wild in the United States.  Gruse had purchased the scorpions from a United States pet store.

The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada, was created in 1995 to provide a means for directing funds received from fines, court orders and voluntary payments to be used for the repair of the actual harm done to the environment.

Environment Canada works to ensure that companies and individuals comply with the conservation goals of environmental and wildlife protection acts and regulations.

Environment Canada has created a subscription service to help the public stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment. Subscribing to Environment Canada’s Enforcement Notifications is easy, and free. Sign up today.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations
Environment Canada
819-934-8008

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