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December trial date set for animal abuse suspect

A Pahrump man appeared for his arraignment in Nye County’s Fifth District Court on July 20 for an animal cruelty charge. Animal cruelty charges were filed last month by the Nye County District Attorney’s Office over an incident that occurred roughly two years ago.

Phillip Peng, represented by Defense Attorney Brent Percival, was taken into custody on July 14, 2018, and later released, after Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered a wounded desert tortoise at his Idaho Street home on an unrelated matter. A series of events, which included the discovery of an injured tortoise on the Pahrump property at the time, which lead to the recent action by the DA’s office.

Peng faces one count of mutilating an animal, a category “D” felony, for allegedly drilling a hole in the tortoise’s shell, and then further abusing the animal by keeping it in water, according to authorities.

It is against state and federal law to collect a wild desert tortoise without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

“Judge, at this time, it is my understanding that Mr. Peng is going to be entering a plea of not guilty, and we have asked the court to set the matter for a trial in the ordinary course,” Percival informed Lane.

The brief hearing also allowed for Lane to inquire about the possible length of the trial, where Percival said it might take as long as two and a half to three days.

Additionally, Lane expressed a bit of frustration over the delays of regular court business, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I tend to be a little obsessive, compulsive, and over the years, I’ve had this office running like a smooth train running down the track, and then COVID hit, and we’ve had to cancel things, and stack things,” he said in part. “Hopefully, we won’t have to continue this.”

Lane then set the trial dates beginning Dec. 9th through the 11th, with a calendar call scheduled for October 19 at 9 a.m.

Percival, meanwhile, advised his client to return to Lane’s courtroom on the specified calendar date and to remain in touch.

“I am not going anywhere,” Peng quietly replied.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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