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Man accused of drilling hole in tortoise shell headed to trial

Updated June 23, 2020 - 10:38 am

An animal abuse case against a Pahrump man accused of drilling a hole in a desert tortoise’s shell could go before a jury, the Nye County district attorney’s office announced Monday.

The case was bound over for trial after a preliminary hearing last week in Pahrump Justice Court.

Phillip Peng, 73, could be sentenced to prison if convicted of one count of torturing, maiming, mutilating or killing an animal. He is accused of drilling a hole in the animal’s shell in June 2018 in order to leash it, in addition to “further abusing” the desert tortoise by keeping it in water, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Why would someone mistreat a desert tortoise like that? It’s a question that troubles me,” Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia said in a statement.

The desert tortoise has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Peng’s arraignment is scheduled for July 20 in Nye County District Court.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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