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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 99417
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I purchased a tiger pelt at Quinn and Farmers auction house

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I purchased a tiger pelt at Quinn and Farmer's auction house last Saturday but have not paid or taken ownership yet. I plan to do so tomorrow in Charlottesville, VA. I would like to know if there is any federal or VA law prohibiting this purchase. I am certain that the pelt was purchased decades ago before laws for endangered species. Quinn is a reputable auction house but I don't want to be fined due to this purchase. I still can not go through with it if it is illegal. I would appreciate any information. Also, I am planning on purchasing a house in Maryland at some point, will it be a problem to move the pelt there?

Hello and thank you for requesting me.

Under the Lacey Act of 1900 (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371–3378), it is unlawful to import, export, sell, acquire, or purchase fish, wildlife or plants that are (1) protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or, (2) state law. This also includes their remains.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora lists TIGERS as endangered. This means that arguably, the tiger pelt is unlawful. Now, it may have been made when the tiger was not listed with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, however, that may be used as an affirmative defense once/if the federal government seize the pelt and charge the possessor.

In summary, it is simply not a good idea to do this, even if the pelt was made before the law came into place. This is because while one may have this affirmative defense, if charged, they would be cleared only after thousands of dollars and months of emotional worry. In my opinion, simply not worth the risk.

If it were me, I would void the purchase.

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