A man in Virginia, USA, has pleaded guilty to ‘murdering’ a bald eagle, but not without a trivial reason.
He allegedly shot the beautiful creature before running over it with his red all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
The killer is facing a possible $100,000 fine or one year behind bars.
According to a report from ABC News, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in an official statement that Allen H. Thacker from Smithfield has pleaded guilty as charged.
The Justice Department revealed in its statements of facts that Allen committed the inhuman act out of anger, simply because the bald eagle often hunted fish from a pond located on his property.
Prosecutors started investigations after a witness spotted Allen along Mill Swamp Road, where he appeared to be running over the lovely creature, according to a statement of facts from the Eastern District of Virginia.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) arrested Allen, seized his firearms, and remanded him in custody after the incident, but he maintains that there was nothing wrong with his action.
“Too much emphasis is placed on bald eagle protection because the birds are a menace,” he claimed, according to the court documents.
Allen allegedly ran over the bird in circles about four times before picking it up, and driving into the woods.
Police officers from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries carried out investigations on the matter, leading to his arrest and confession.
Allen was identified as the red ATV owner, and in fact, the man responsible for that horrific act. He later led police to the spot where he dragged and “finished off” the eagle.
However, his plea statement includes the “truth” that he did fire a warning shot to scare off the fearless bird which remained unfazed even in the face of death.
The suspect also confessed that a .22 caliber rifle was used for his first shot at the bald eagle before he pulled a pistol to confirm it had died.
Allen added that he never ran over it with his ATV as the onlooker testified.
During court proceedings, a qualified medical examiner revealed that a necropsy was performed on the eagle, and found it to be an adult male eagle in “good nutritional condition.”
Except remains from a .22 caliber projectile inside the bird, the medical examiner said the gunshot wounds couldn’t have killed it immediately.
Allen was believed to have applied blunt force which resulted to a fractured skull and associated hemorrhage. That was the immediate cause of death.
“[Contrary to the suspect’s testimony] The medical examiner found no evidence that Thacker used a pistol to kill the bird as he had claimed,” the court document states, according to the report.
The bald eagle is the proud national bird symbol of the United States, yet, it is facing extinction in a country where it should call home — safe home. They’re being hunted for sport, and as “protection” from fish ponds.
It’s average lifespan is 28 years.