Missouri woman petitions for tougher poaching fines

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) _ A suburban St. Louis woman has launched an online petition push she hopes compels Missouri lawmakers to increases the fines for wildlife poachers.

Sarah Cox of Maryland Heights tells the Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/2f2eDlp ) she launched the petition drive months ago after reading in that newspaper that a man faced only a $99.50 fine for illegally killing a black bear.

As a hunter, Cox also says she was outraged after a poacher killed a Missouri elk and removed the antlers with a chain saw, leaving the animal’s carcass behind.

She calls Missouri’s poaching penalties lax, and her change.org petition to change that had nearly 6,600 signatures as of Friday.

Her petition also endorses a state lawmaker’s effort to require restitution payments from poachers of deer, elk, black bears or turkeys.