Acting on a tip that wildlife was potentially being illegally kept at a private home in Dutchess County, officers from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation searched the premises on August 23, discovering a 15-foot aboveground swimming pool in the basement. In it were seven live sandbar sharks, each between 2 and 4 feet long. Also found were two dead leopard sharks and a dead hammerhead shark.
Currently no one has been charged in the incident, however it should be noted that all three species of shark are popularly fished. Leopard sharks are commercially fished, primarily off the Californian coast, for their meat, while both hammerheads and sandbar sharks are disproportionately coveted for their large fins, a delicacy in certain cuisines.
The DEC reported that all the sharks were easily rescued, then assessed by a veterinarian from the Wildlife Conservation Society who drew blood, measured, and tagged the them. The sharks were then loaded into a specially outfitted and climate controlled truck for transport to the Long Island Aquarium where they will be held until conclusion of the investigation.