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Letter: Teens who killed turtle deserve stiff punishment

Teens who killed turtle deserve stiff punishment

I heard on the news that the Niagara County teens who abused and killed a snapping turtle have hunting licenses. Part of the teens’ punishment should be that they are banned from hunting or owning weapons for at least 10 years, if not for life. No hunter wants to encounter someone who would inflict senseless cruelty on the animals and have so little regard for the suffering of a living being.

It’s been proven that those who abuse animals also abuse humans. I have hunted most of my life and have a deep respect for the animals I’ve hunted for meat. I do not care for those who hunt purely for trophy either, but can accept their right to do so as long as the hunter obeys laws, donates the meat and strives to make the kill as painless as possible.

The teens who tortured the turtle have demonstrated such cruelty that it would be a disservice to our community to not punish them in a meaningful way.

Hunting and owning weapons comes with responsibility to make decisions based on sound judgment. The teens have failed to do so. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation needs to throw the book at the teens for the torturous killing of a turtle out of season – two big offenses. The DEC sometimes goes too light on offenders, but I have hope that for the teens’ sakes and for the sakes of the people around them that they are required to undergo extensive counseling in addition to personally working off the fines by closely supervised work with animals, even turtles. May I emphasize closely supervised?

Hopefully it is not too late to turn around at least some of the teens. Letting them off lightly would be an injustice to them and to the community.

Lawrence A. Mazurczyk

Little Valley