Hare-brained scheme: Man busted for illegal hare trafficking
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a Massachusetts man to probation for running an illegal trapping operation that captured wild hares in Maine for the purpose of training dogs.
Jon Rioux, 36, of Attleboro, solicited Maine residents to trap snowshoe hares, court documents show. Undercover investigators offered to trap the hares for money, and Rioux obliged, despite the fact he did not have a license or permit that would have allowed him to possess or transport the animals, prosecutors said.
The judge in U.S. District Court in Portland sentenced Rioux to one year of probation and fined him $10,000. He was also ordered to pay $1,843 in restitution to the state of Maine.
Rioux wanted the hares to use for beagle training and field trials in Massachusetts, prosecutors said. An investigator trapped hares on an island and sold them to Rioux on four seperate occasions in 2021, prosecutors said. He was arrested in March 2022.
Rioux declined to comment on Thursday.
Snowshoe hares are cold-weather dwelling hares that have large back feet and change color from brown to white in the winter. Maine’s legal snowshoe hare hunting season runs from late September to early spring.