UPDATE: Charges have been dismissed against a man accused of abandoning his pet fish in North Carolina. The district attorney said since fish are not protected under the law in regards to animal abuse, all charges against him have been dismissed.
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has been charged with abandoning a pet fish that authorities say he left behind without food when he was evicted.
News outlets report that that New Hanover County Sheriff's Office arrested 53-year-old Michael Hinson on Wednesday and charged him with one count of abandonment of an animal and three counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
Officials say Hinson was evicted from his Wilmington home last month and left behind an Oscar fish in poor health in a dirty tank. Hinson couldn't be reached by telephone and court records don't list an attorney.
The 6-inch fish is being nursed back to health at an aquarium store.
Lt. Jerry Brewer says it's the county's first animal cruelty case involving a pet fish, but this "is a life like any dog or cat."