A Pahrump, Nevada man has been accused of drilling holes through the shell of an endangered desert tortoise to keep it on a leash. Phillip Peng faces two felony charges of animal cruelty after the animal was found struggling to stay afloat in a bucket of water.
According to News3lv, Nye County Sheriff’s deputies had been making an arrest on an unrelated incident when they found the tortoise. Peng told authorities he found the animal four years ago and used a power drill to make the holes in its shell so he could keep it on a leash.
A reptile specialist told authorities drilling the holes in the tortoise’s shell would have caused “extreme pain.” The animal is named as the Nevada State Reptile and is protected under the United States Endangered Species Act making it illegal to remove the tortoise from the wild without a special permit.
A veterinarian has since examined the tortoise and stated it is doing fine.
Peng remains in jail.
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