A man in New Hanover County, North Carolina, was arrested on animal cruelty charges Wednesday for allegedly neglecting and abandoning his pet fish.
What are the details?
Michael Hinson, 53, was charged with three counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and one count of abandonment of an animal, for allegedly leaving his Oscar fish behind when he was evicted from his home on March 22, WECT-TV reported. Hinson was taken into custody and released on a $4,000 unsecured bond.
The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office discovered the fish during an inspection of the home and noticed it appeared to be in poor health and had a dirty tank. They sent the Oscar to be nursed back to health at the Fish Room. It will be put up for adoption after it is fully recovered from a parasite that can be fatal if left untreated.
Ethan Lane of the Fish Room told WECT that Oscar fish "are great pets," explaining, "We call them wet pets. They are very trainable, they have huge personalities, some of them can be aggressive."
Lane said of Hinson's pet, "When this fish came in, he was in pretty bad shape."
Lt. Jerry Brewer, spokesman for the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, said Hinson is the first person they've ever charged with animal cruelty toward a fish, "but this is a life just like any dog or cat."
The officer made it clear the department has no tolerance whatsoever when it comes to someone mistreating one of God's creatures.
"If you harm or neglect an animal in New Hanover County," Brewer said, "We are coming for you."