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Man Who Left Pet Fish Behind Briefly Charged With Cruelty

Charges were ultimately dropped
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2019 5:50 PM CDT
Stock photo of an Oscar fish.   (Getty Images / BravissimoS)

(Newser) – When Michael Hinson was evicted from his Wilmington, NC, home last month, the 53-year-old left behind a fish—and found himself facing animal cruelty and abandonment charges. Officials say the 6-inch-long Oscar was in poor health, living in a dirty tank, and had no food available; Hinson was accused of abandoning it, NBC News reports. But New Hanover County's DA said Tuesday that the charges against Hinson (three counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and one count of abandonment of an animal, per WRAL) had been dropped, as fish aren't actually included under the relevant statues that protect animals—which are defined in the statutes as amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals other than humans. As for the fish, which is worth between $40 and $50 per the State, it is recuperating at a local aquarium store. (Read more weird crimes stories.)

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