An Idaho woman charged with killing a falconer’s bird in January now faces up to 6 months in jail and a maximum of $5,000 in fines. According to the New York Daily News, 60-year-old Patti McDonald said she was upset that the falconer was hunting ducks with an 8-year-old falcon named Hornet in Kootenai County, so she decided to attack the bird when it landed. McDonald allegedly took off a heavy beaded scarf and proceeded to pummel the falcon, which was raised around humans and did not fly away. Eventually Hornet’s owner, Scott Dinger, found the bird dead from a fractured skull and broken leg.
Dinger, who was 500 yards away when the attack occurred, said he confronted the woman and identified himself as a licensed falconer.
“She just goes ‘I just beat the shit out of your falcon,'” Dinger told the Coeur d’alene Press. “It became clear that my bird was hurt. I grabbed the duck and walked away from the lady because once she told me that, my only thought was getting my bird back.”
Dinger found his bird an hour later crumpled on the ground. At around the same time, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game received a call from McDonald in which she stated that she had “beat the crap” out of a falcon as it was holding onto a duck. Wildlife officials investigated the case and sent their findings to Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh, who decided to pursue a misdemeanor charge for intentionally injuring or harassing an animal. Dinger however, who says that he raised Hornet from a hatching, says the misdemeanor charge is far too light. The falconer is urging Game and Fish officials to pursue additional federal charges for the killing of a protected species.
The killing of protected raptor species is a federal offense and carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $15,000 fine.