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Jupiter man cited for keeping loggerhead sea turtles in aquarium

William Jowett, 54, claimed he put turtles in aquarium for daughters to see

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(Courtesy: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

JUPITER, Fla. – A man from Jupiter was cited by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers after he held two loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings in his household aquarium, FWC officials said.

According to officers, William Jowett, 54, captured the turtles from his backyard canal and put them in his aquarium for his daughters to see.

Officers said Jowett claimed that he planned to release the hatchlings, but he grew attached to them.

"Our mission is to conserve Florida's natural resources and protect its people through proactive and responsive law enforcement services," said FWC Lt. Chris Harris. "This investigation is only one example of our commitment to achieve this goal and demonstrates our efforts working with federal partners, the general public and the state attorney."

Officers removed the two turtles from Jowett's tank and took them to the Loggerhead Marine Life Sanctuary Center. The turtles have since been released into the wild.

Jowett was issued a first-degree misdemeanor citation for possessing two loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings.

The loggerhead sea turtle is listed as a threatened species by the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Capturing a loggerhead sea turtle is punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

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