Calif. man pleads not guilty in sea lion shooting

AP News
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Posted: Dec 28, 2009 3:39 PM

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 Monday 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 animal 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.