Store Owner Sentenced For Illegally Importing Seahorses (Originally Published October 16, 2016 by Canyon News).

I am reposting my news pieces for my own records. This piece was published by Canyon News on October 16 2016 at 5:27pm. The story was considered breaking news and made the cover story of the paper edition.

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STUDIO CITY—On Wednesday, October 5 the owner of the West Hollywood store Necromance was sentenced to probation for one year and 200 hours of community service for violating the Endangered Species Act and illegally importing seahorses. The establishment describes itself as, “seller of natural his- tory, including skulls, bones & teeth feathers & bird skins, antlers & horns, minerals & crystals moths, butterflies & insects, fur pelts, shark jaws, sea shells sea urchins, taxidermy & wet specimens, and antique prints” and sells var- ious types of deceased animals.

According to the Department of Justice, Nancy Delap Smith, 56, entered a guilty plea to the misdemeanor violation and her store was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for importing endangered seahorses, an item which is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Both Smith and Necromance admitted to importing the seahorses, as well as bat skulls from Indonesia in 2011.

The U.S. Attorney’s office released a statement by US Attorney Eileen M. Decker indicating,“The defendant and her store participated in illegal wildlife trafficking, which is prohibited by the United States, international treaties and nearly every nation on the planet. These laws and international agreements are designed to protect species that are subject to senseless killing and poach- ing simply to meet the demands of individuals who want to possess unusual animals.”

Canyon News contacted Necromance and their lawyer, Ronald A. Ziff who stated, “this was a regulatory offense. The issue was that she [the defendant Nancy Smith] did not fill out the right paper work. You can lawfully have these items [the seahorses and bat skulls] as long as you report it.”

Ziff told Canyon news that Nancy had built her business from the ground up and has provided a good service to the public. She has clients from the entertainment industry as well as academics who are studying natural history artifacts.

Ziff also stated that Nancy has been a “good corporate citizen for the past 26 years and she will continue to do so in the future.”

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