By Pete Thomas
As Sgt. Nevis continues to recover from reconstructive surgery after being shot in the face nearly a year ago for stealing fish, the man convicted of shooting him has been given a 30-day jail sentence and ordered to pay a $51,000 fine.
It might seem like a light sentence but Sgt. Nevis is a California sea lion, named after the animal control officer who helped save the mammal.
Larry Allen Legans, 44, is the Northern California man who last Friday was convicted of animal abuse as a result of the incident last November on the Sacramento River near Verona.
The fine will be awarded to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. That's where Sgt. Nevis was treated initially. He's currently being kept at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, where he'll go on public display this weekend for the first time. "He's healing, but as long as he's a little better than he was, we're happy," Six Flags veterinarian Diana Proctor told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Although if he shows even a little discomfort this weekend, we'll put him back in his quiet area."
Is the sentence Legans received too light? Consider that Sgt. Nevis basically had his nose removed by a shotgun blast and doctors had to pull flaps of skin over the pellet holes to seal his nasal cavity, so he could swim and dive.
Now the sea lion is well cared for, but no longer a free creature of the wild.