The prey model pet diet is sparking a nationwide Internet crime wave that could create black markets for wildlife.
Pet owners interested in feeding their dogs and cats the precise diet their ancestors and wild counterparts eat are visiting sites like eBay and Craigslist looking for affordable sources of raw wild game.
Online prey model shoppers are looking for squirrel, pheasant, rabbit, goose, duck, chicken, deer, raw fish, meaty bones and organ meats like kidneys, hearts, and livers.
The majority of well-meaning pet owners don’t realize it’s a misdemeanor to solicit wildlife online. Selling it is a felony.
People caught selling raw meat without a permit face up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Those buying the illegally obtained game face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
Buying and selling on the Internet is a way to avoid paying taxes or buying licenses to sell wild game, according to Florida wildlife investigators. It’s also a way to sell meat that may not be safe for consumption or that was harvested from animals killed by poachers.