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Sacramento fisherman pleads not guilty to animal cruelty charges after allegedly shooting sea lion

December 28, 2009 | 12:18 pm

Rescue workers from the Marine Mammal Center try to capture the injured sea lion 
in Knights Landing, Calif.

YUBA CITY, Calif. — A Sacramento fisherman accused of shooting a sea lion in the head has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of cruelty to animals.

Larry Legans, 43, entered the plea today in a Sutter County courtroom.

Authorities say Legans fired his shotgun at the sea lion along the Sacramento River because he was tired of watching the protected animals take his fish.

The 300- to 500-pound male sea lion was spotted with a gunshot wound on a dock in Sacramento on Nov. 11. Authorities say they arrested Legans after a fisherman reported seeing him shoot the sea lion.

The animal is recovering at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, where officials say its condition has stabilized. It could eventually be released back into the wild.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Rescue workers from the Marine Mammal Center try to capture the injured sea lion in Knights Landing, Calif., on Dec. 4, 2009.  Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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