On Monday, Allen Thacker, 62, was sentenced, however there will be no jail despite the United States government arguing he deserved time in federal prison for shooting a bald eagle and then running it over with his all-terrain vehicle.
According to the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily News, Thacker was sentenced to a $500 fine, $1,500 restitution payment, 100 hours of community service, one-year probation and one month of home confinement after the Smithfield man pleaded guilty to killing the bald eagle. Government lawyers argued Thacker should have received two weeks in federal prison and an additional five months of home confinement. Thacker violated the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act with prosecutor’s describing his actions as “egregious and distressing.”
“The killing of the Bald Eagle offends many Americans as an affront to the United States itself,” documents stated. “Although there is no evidence in the record to suggest the defendant harbors anti-American views, his wanton killing of the Bald Eagle would lead many to characterize the defendant in this manner.”
In July, Thacker tried to scare the bird from hunting fish in his pond with a warning shot, but when the bird refused to leave, Thacker wounded the eagle shooting at him with a .22 caliber rifle. He then told authorities he used a pistol to “finish the bird off.” A witness reports, when the eagle landed after it was shot, Thacker ran over the bird with his all terrain vehicle – although when originally questioned by authorities, he denied it, AbcNews reported. The witness reported Thacker drove in a circle and ran over the eagle at least three to four times before he dragged it into the woods.
The necropsy of the eagle determined it died from blunt force trauma. The .22 rifle did wound the bird, however there was no evidence of any pistol shots. The eagle apparently died a torturous death as Thacker repeatedly ran over it with his ATV.
In an interview with agents from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, (USFWS) Thacker stated that “too much emphasis is placed on bald eagle protection because the birds are a menace.”
Thacker’s restitution payment will be made to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund Account and his community service will be with the National Wildlife Refuge. Let’s hope he learns to respect nature.
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