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Man sentenced for killing Florida panther

A Naples bowhunter was sentenced Thursday to 60 days of home confinement and 30 days in federal prison for killing a Florida panther. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Polster Chappell also ordered the hunter, Todd "Scuttlebutt" Benfield, 45, to pay a fine of $5,000, pay another $5,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, publish an apology in the Naples Daily News and put in 200 hours of community service. He will spend three years on probation, during which he is banned from hunting, the judge said. Benfield, in a written statement filed in court when he pleaded guilty to the 2009 killing, admitted he shot the endangered animal "because I thought the Florida panther was competing and interfering with my hunting." Benfield is only the third person since the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973 to be successfully prosecuted for killing the state animal. Between 100 and 150 panthers are estimated to still prowl what's left of Florida's wilderness.

Man sentenced for killing Florida panther 07/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012 3:21pm]
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