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By Eric Lieberman
A man from Virginia pled guilty Tuesday to killing a bald eagle after he got upset with the bird.
Allen Thacker, 62, shot America’s national animal because he was frustrated with its instinctive tendency to hunt for fish in a pond located on his property. At first, he allegedly tried scaring the bird away with a warning shot from his Remington .22 caliber rifle. But after failing to deter the avian creature, he apparently decided to shoot the bird directly.
A necropsy report of the now-deceased eagle reveals that one of Thacker’s bullets wounded the bird, and the blunt force trauma to the skull (presumably from the drop to the ground) is what ultimately killed it, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.
Thacker originally denied investigators’ allegations. Witnesses, though, reported to authorities that they saw Thacker driving over the bird with his all-terrain vehicle, likely to ensure the eagle was dead, or perhaps to exact a twisted form of vengeance. He later changed his testimony and admitted to the crimes.
Thacker could face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The DOJ notes, however, that maximum penalties for federal crimes are usually not enforced, a notion especially possible if the defendant pleads guilty.
The case was originally investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency within the Department of Interior.
Violence against animals appears to be occurring somewhat frequently in recent weeks and months.
While not a crime like Thacker’s situation, a woman casually jogging on a wooded trail in Maine drowned a highly aggressive raccoon after it charged and attacked her.
A man driving through New Jersey literally fought a deer in September because the wild animal charged the ajar, driver side door of his vehicle. The whole ordeal was caught on tape by a trailing police officer’s dashboard camera.