Man receives prison time for killing eagle, but not in the UK

News from the United States this week demonstrated the best way to handle raptor killers, when a court Judge in Iowa  handed down a jail term for the  intentional killing of  a bald -eagle. The sentence was immediately followed by a huge cheer from watches inside the court. The judgement handed down by the judge sent a clear message that killing protected birds of prey will not be tolerated.

Jason John Thomas, 36, of What Cheer, Iowa was sentenced by District Court Judge John A. Jarvey to 60 days in prison for taking and possessing a bald eagle, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.

bald eagle

One American District Court Judge sends the correct message to raptor killers in Iowa, sixty days in prison, a $2000 fine and 80 hours community service. Why do our raptor killers get off almost scot free?

Thomas took and possessed a bald eagle in rural Mahaska County during a boat ride when he pursued the eagle as it flew down river, captured it after it landed in the river and then bludgeoning the defenceless bird to death.

Under US law the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, “take” includes pursuing, shooting, shooting at, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, collecting, molesting or disturbing a bald or golden eagle.

“Cases like this often can’t be made without someone who comes forward with information. We could solve a lot more serious wildlife crimes if witnesses were willing to become involved,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Deputy Assistant Director Edward Grace.

Concerned citizens are encouraged to call or email the national Turn In Poachers hotline if they witness any wildlife crime: 1-844-NWR-TIPS (697-8477) or email NWR_TIPs@fws.gov. The hotline is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

“We appreciate the work of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and are thankful that the judge in this case found that prison time was appropriate,” Grace said.

Thomas was ordered by Judge Jarvey to serve one year of supervised release following his 60 days in prison, and pay a $2,000 fine, and pay $25 toward the Crime Victim Fund. Special conditions of the supervised release include that Thomas shall perform 80 hours of community service, and shall not engage in any form of hunting. What a  great pity the courts in the UK do not have the same willingness to impose a deterrent sentence when it comes to the illegal killing of our own so called protected raptors.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

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