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Turtle case has Dayton wanting to speed up harsher poaching penalties

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Ask Minnesota's governor about poachers and he'll come out of his shell.

In the wake of this week's news that three northwestern Minnesota men are charged with having thousands of pounds of snapping turtle meat outside the animal's hunting season, Dayton promised to renew his push for harsher penalties against those who violate wildlife laws.

While troubled by the charges, FOX 9 reports Dayton was particularly disgusted that the defendants seem likely to receive a sentence he called "disgracefully light."

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The charges filed against the three Frazee defendants in the snapping turtle case are punishable with a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

But the wife of one defendant indicated to the Star Tribune that her husband had agreed to pay a fine of $185.

Dayton, who is a lawyer, told the Pioneer Press he's disgusted with the Becker County Attorney for seeking a punishment far less than the maximum.

Dayton also told the newspaper: "It is such an abuse of not only nature but a total disregard for the laws and ethics of Minnesota. It is a crime, and I hope it is seen as a crime."

In March, Dayton pushed a plan to make poaching a felony but state lawmakers did not pass the legislation.

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