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Largest seizure of illegal reptiles in New York State history in Allegany

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jul 03, 2019

ALLEGANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Wednesday an Allegany man is facing charges in the largest seizure of illegal reptiles in New York State history.

71-year-old William Engelder has been charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree, illegal sale of wildlife, nine counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide proper sustenance, 26 counts of illegally possessing and transporting venomous reptiles, possessing an endangered species without a permit and 283 counts of illegally possessing a wild animal as a pet.

A search warrant was conducted at Engelder's residence in August 2018, a total of 292 animals were seized, several of which were threatened species or species of special concern.

The animals seized include:

  • Two box turtles
  • Two painted turtles
  • Three king cobras
  • Six Gila monsters
  • Six snapping turtles
  • 17 bog turtles
  • 28 Blanding's turtles
  • 53 wood turtles
  • 184 spotted turtles
When public safety and the well-being of wildlife are jeopardized by reckless care, DEC is committed to holding violators responsible. I commend DEC staff for helping to bring these charges and look forward to continuing to work with the Cattaraugus County District Attorney and our law enforcement partners to uphold New York's strong environmental laws.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos

Engelder faces a fine of up to $104,000 and/or up to 33 years in prison.