Three Men Face Charges For Killing Endangered Gopher Tortoises

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File photo of turtle. (Credit:  BRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of turtle. (Credit: BRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Three young men face charges of torturing and killing endangered gopher tortoises in central Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that 20-year-old Michael Dublin, 19-year-old Dalton Bothwell and a 17-year-old male were charged this weekend with killing and wounding a threatened species and felony cruelty to animals.

Wildlife officers say the three young men were at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area last month when they purposefully ran over two gopher tortoises and then slammed them into the ground. Both animals eventually died.

The three young men could each face up to five years in prison. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had attorneys.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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