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Man pleads guilty to 105 animal cruelty charges after illegally selling turtles in Pittsburgh store

PITTSBURGH — A man has pleaded guilty to 105 counts of animal cruelty after he was charged with illegally selling turtle hatchlings out of a shop in Pittsburgh’s Carrick neighborhood.

According to our partners at TribLIVE.com, the plea agreement accepted by an Allegheny County judge on Thursday prohibits store owner Edward Christian, 44, from owning any type of animal for three years.

Police Christian hatched and sold red-eared slider turtles out of his store on Brownsville Road. The hatchlings being sold were less than 4 inches in size, which is illegal in Pennsylvania.

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Investigators said they received a complaint about the hatchlings being sold for $20 a piece. When they went to the store, they found a 10-gallon tank on the floor with 80 turtles inside. Animal experts said the tank would have been the right size for only one hatchling. The animals did not have access to sun and there was no light in the tank. There wasn’t enough water in the tank and it was “filthy” because there was no filtration system.

Police went back a second time after getting another complaint that Christian was still selling turtle hatchlings. After an undercover purchase by detectives, police raided the shop.

Out of 105 turtles confiscated, 11 died.