Man Pleads to 212 Counts of Illegal Taxidermy
A Boyle County man has pled guilty to 212 counts of illegal taxidermy and 32 counts of failure to maintain proper taxidermy records. Robert Louis Johnson was ordered by Boyle District Court to pay fines totaling $17,000, make restitution to all persons who had taxidermy items at his business, or complete the taxidermy items within a 12- month period. The fines will be probated at the request of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) upon completion of all terms of probation.
The conviction comes as a result of a two-month long investigation by State Wildlife and Boating Officers Stephen Isaacs and Rick Muse who charged Johnson in March 2003. Johnson was found guilty on all charges.
"Johnson had been operating out of a garage on Salt River Road in Boyle County," said Officer Isaacs. "He came to our attention when several customers complained that he had accepted wildlife for mounting and had not completed the work, and then moved without a forwarding address or phone number."
In a search of the property on Salt River Road, several spoiled whitetail deer capes and turkeys were discovered in unplugged freezers.
"It was a very disorganized operation and the amount of wildlife left behind to spoil was a major concern for us," stated Officer Muse. Johnson was later located operating out of his garage in Mercer County. Upon an inventory by the officers, all customers were contacted and a list compiled for Johnson's probation officer to use as a monitoring tool to insure that all items are completed or returned as ordered by the court. Johnson will be required to provide the KDFWR with an update of completed items on a quarterly basis. Johnson’s probation runs for two years.
“Officer Muse and I, as well as the KDFWR are very pleased with the support we have received from the Boyle County Attorney's office and the citizens of Boyle County for their support of wildlife conservation," said Officer Isaacs.