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Sep-29-2006 12:40printcomments

Alleged Intoxicated Driver Charged With Swiping Baby Seal From Oregon Beach

Senior Oregon State Police Trooper Scott Salisbury transported the seal pup that evening to the aquarium and released it to a staff member.


Seal pups should be left alone no matter what
File photo: beachconnection.com

(FLORENCE) - Oregon State Police troopers and Florence police found more than an intoxicated driver September 17th when a harbor seal pup was discovered in a vehicle stopped in Florence. The driver was arrested for DUII and Unlawful Possession of Wildlife, and the seal pup was taken to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehabilitation.

On Sunday, September 17th at about 4:00 PM, Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division Senior Trooper Scott Salisbury heard officers were trying to locate a driver in the Newport area who was in possession of a seal pup.

A second report was received at about 8:30 PM, indicating that the same vehicle, a white van, had been at a Florence-area store showing the seal pup. Florence police were notified to look for the van.

At approximately 8:35 PM, a Florence Police sergeant stopped the van on Highway 101 near Quince Street and requested response from Senior Trooper Salisbury.

Salisbury contacted the sergeant and the van's driver, 24-year old Matthew Charles Lane, who recently moved to Oregon from Nevada and reportedly lives in his van. They say he had the seal pup wrapped in a towel and gave it to Senior Trooper Salisbury.

Lane told the officers he and his 16-year old brother were walking on an area beach when they noticed larger seals attacking the baby seal. He said they scared off the older seals and picked up the baby seal to get it away from the others. Not wanting to leave the seal because it had some wounds, Lane took the seal from the area to try and find a veterinarian but was unable to do so because no offices were open on Sunday.

State Police took possession of the seal pup believed to be 2 –3 months old and placed it in a pickup. Arrangements were made for the seal pup to be taken later to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehabilitation and treatment of minor puncture wounds that may have been caused by a pit bull dog also found in the van.

Lane was requested to conduct field sobriety tests and subsequently was taken into custody for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUII). Investigation indicated Lane was taking prescription medication for a physical problem.

Lane was transported by Trooper Colin Tracy to the Florence jail where he was processed, with the assistance of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) from Florence Police Department, for DUII. He was cited and released for DUII and Unlawful Possession of Wildlife to appear in Lane County Circuit Court in Eugene on October 11th at 8:30 AM.

Senior Trooper Salisbury transported the seal pup that evening to the aquarium and released it to a staff member.

OSP Fish & Wildlife Sergeant Steve Lane recommends that anyone finding injured wildlife should leave it where it is and contact OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 1-800-452-7888 or notify the local OSP office. Unlawful Possession of Wildlife is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $6,250.00 and up to one year in jail.




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