In Norfolk, Virginia, a local resident pleaded guilty to killing a bald eagle by shooting it and then running it over with his all-terrain vehicle. On Tuesday, Allen Thacker, 62, admitted to the unlawful taking of a bald eagle, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Originally Thacker tried to scare the bird away 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 reports. 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.” He shot the bird because he was angry that it had been hunting and taking fish from the pond on his property.
The USFWS seized the firearms used to kill the eagle. Thacker will be sentenced on October 23 and could have faced a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. A plea agreement has been worked out between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Thacker’s attorney. Instead he will forfeit all assets involved in the offense, including the .22 caliber rifle. Since Thacker jointly owns the Yamaha Big Bear all-terrain with his sister, he has agreed to forfeit a sum of $960.
(Photo of bald eagle Pixabay)
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