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Land Sharks

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Today's Long Beach Press Telegram provides chilling detailsabout vandalism at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.Staff writer Tracy Manzer wrote "Police captured three youths suspected of torturing and killing two docile sharks and a ray at the Aquarium of the Pacific after they returned with another boy to the scene of the crime to carry out more mayhem late Monday, an official said.

Three 13-year-olds and one 14-year-old were taken into custody and admitted that three of them had been there the previous night and battered the animals after climbing over an 8-foot fence that surrounds the outdoor area, police said." All of the boys were held at Los Padrinos Juvenile Detection Facility in Downey and charged with counts of felony animal cruelty, conspiracy to commit felony animal cruelty and trespassing.

The youths dragged one shark from her touch pool and slammed her against the concrete. The bamboo shark, which was about 18 inches long, was flung onto a portion of the bird sanctuary that houses the lorikeet exhibit. The boys dragged the cow-nosed ray from its habitat and stabbed it with a pole or some other slender object and left it to die.

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Aquarium officials are more forgiving than LAist.

"In a perfect world all three of these boys can be made to realize the seriousness of their actions," Aquarium President Jerry Schubel said. "I would love for them to one day call Perry [Hampton, Director of Animal Husbandry at the Aquarium] and be able to apologize and be brought here to work with the sharks, to protect the very animals they were trying to harm."

We agree with one visitor, exiting the Shark exhibit yesterday, who told the Press-Telegram reporter, "They should do the same things to those kids that they did to the sharks," remarked one visitor as he walked away from the exhibit Tuesday.