Man Charged with 55 Wildlife Violations

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Game wardens with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) have charged Daniel Edsel Edwards of Sandy Level in Pittsylvania County with 55 counts of wildlife violations in connection with an illegal bear trap and bait operation. Officers with VDGIF’s Special Law Enforcement Assistance Patrol (SLAP) team conducted the 47-day surveillance that led to the charges. During the surveillance period, Mr. Edwards was observed transporting a black bear that had been caught in his illegal bear trap near an illegal bear bait site. In addition, the remains of another black bear were found on his property.

Mr. Edwards was charged with 45 counts of unlawfully trapping, transporting and possessing wildlife, a Class 3 misdemeanor with a penalty of a fine of up to $500 for each count. He was also charged with seven counts of unauthorized feeding of black bear, a Class 4 misdemeanor with a penalty of a fine up to $250 per count. Edwards was also charged with two counts of taking game during a closed season, a Class 2 misdemeanor with a penalty of a fine of up to $1,000 per count and possible jail time of up to six months. Finally, Mr. Edwards was charged with one count of cruelty to animals, a Class 1 misdemeanor with a penalty of a fine of up to $2,500 and jail time of up to 12 months.

Said VDGIF Director Bill Woodfin, “This case is an excellent example of what our game wardens are accomplishing in the field. The SLAP team in particular has received extensive training and their special skills provide us additional tools to help protect our wildlife resources. We have no tolerance for poaching, which is nothing more than stealing wildlife, and our enforcement people are working hard to make sure that does not happen.”

Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Grimes said this type of prosecution is not possible without the concerted, tireless efforts of the dedicated professional game wardens. He promised to work closely with the Department in bringing this offender to justice.