An animal rights group's attempted coup against a pigeon hunt ended with a bang last weekend.
SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) flew a remote-control camera over a live pigeon shoot at the Wing Pointe Gun Club in Berks County, Pa. on Sunday, WFMZ reported, and SHARK says one of the rifleman blew the camera to pieces.
"Shooting a drone is an extremely dangerous act," SHARK president Steve Hindi states in a press release. "What we were doing is completely legal. Someone at Wing Pointe is obviously so scared of our evidence that they are desperate to stop it."
State police have been brought in to investigate the destruction of the drone, which SHARK claims was worth at least $4,000.
"We want to try and find out if the device was shot, who shot it. If we can find that out," Trooper David Beohm told WFMZ. "But then, on the flip side, we want to find out were they allowed to operate this device without a permit or even over the property."
SHARK'S release states that the purpose of the camera was to capture footage of "illegal animal abuse."
The Humane Society of Berks County also argues that the shoots are illegal. They cite Pennsylvania anti-cruelty law 5511, which reads:
A person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly ill-treats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise.
There are exemptions for game animals, but pigeons are not included on the Pennsylvania Game Code's list of animals that can be legally hunted. They also do not appear in legislation governing domestic birds that can legally be used in game-bird releases.
In June, however, David Heckler, District Attorney of neighboring Bucks County, threw out animal cruelty citations against another gun club that had held a live pigeon shoot, according to Bensalem Patch.
“The shooting of pigeons in Pennsylvania is unquestionably legal,” a release from the DA's office states.