Austin Aquarium owner to spend time in prison

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by KVUE

khou.com

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 9:02 AM

AUSTIN, Texas -- A member of the family that owns the Austin Aquarium will spend some time in prison. It's the latest legal problem for the Covino family.

Court paperwork shows that Ammon Covino admitted to illegally shipping protected sharks and rays from Florida to an aquarium he operated in Idaho.

Monday a federal judge in Florida sentenced 40-year-old Ammon to a year in prison and barred Covino from working in a wildlife exhibit for two years.

The family has faced some controversy in recent months surrounding their Austin facility on Highway 183. Protesters rallied against the aquarium in August after PETA and the Humane Society of Oregon began investigating the brothers' Oregon aquarium. The organizations say 200 animals died in that location.

The family denies the allegations, saying that number includes small animals used as feed for larger fish.

In September owners gave the public a sneak peek of what the aquarium has to offer. The 22,000-square-foot facility will be home to more than 3,000 creatures from sharks to starfish.

The family has told KVUE that controversies will not delay the facility's opening. The Austin Aquarium is set open on December 12 for pass holders and December 22 for the general public. 

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