Monday, March 16, 2015

Falcon Beaten To Death by Crazy Woman

From the Coeur D'Alene, Idaho Press comes this horrific story of a deranged woman:

When Scott Dinger went duck hunting with his two falcons earlier this month on the site of a Halloween corn maze attraction near his home in Hauser, the day took a tragic turn.

The 50-year-old former law enforcement officer is one of 5,000 people in the nation certified in falconry. He has hunted on the property of the Incredible Corn Maze for four years with the permission of the owner.

Dinger's pastor, an amateur photographer, tagged along on the Jan. 7 hunting trip, to witness the fastest creatures on earth in action. Dinger flew Hannibal, a 2-year-old falcon, first, and in the blink of an eye the bird used its talons to strike and kill a duck in what the falconer called "fine fashion."

After feeding the falcon a sparrow, Dinger placed Hannibal in a special enclosure he built for his truck, and put the duck in a cooler....

Hornet, an 8-year-old falcon, was next to hunt....

Hornet dove down and missed a duck on his initial approach, but Dinger said the falcon used the momentum gained from flying more than 200 mph to quickly soar around the duck and bring it down.

Dinger was across the field, approximately 500 yards away from where Hornet had the duck, near Beck Road. He said from his vantage point he could see that the hunt was successful and began walking toward Hornet.

"It was a great day - two flights, two ducks," Dinger said. "We were just kind of relishing in the moment and walking over there because I didn't have any sense of urgency."

As he continued walking, he saw a red Jeep Wrangler pull to the side of the road near where Hornet was holding the duck. Dinger said this wasn't unusual. He commonly sees motorists pull over to stare in awe at the predator birds.

But when the driver left her vehicle, Dinger said, he knew something was wrong.

"I picked up the pace a little bit and lost sight of the person because the corn is tall," Dinger said. "Right when I break free of the corn I see my bird flying away and he's not flying right. One of his legs is hanging and he's just not flying right."

He said he approached the woman and identified himself as a falconer who just lawfully obtained the duck she was standing over. The woman then asked Dinger if Hornet was his falcon and he replied it was.

"She just goes 'I just beat the shit out of your falcon,'" Dinger said. "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 activated a radio beacon attached to Hornet and after an hour of searching, he found his falcon dead, with a fractured skull and broken leg.

Now the cowardly woman who beat to death a well-trained member of a protected species, and then fled rather than face the consequences, has been caught:

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- A northern Idaho woman accused of killing a hunter's falcon that had downed a duck is facing a misdemeanor count of beating or harassing an animal.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that 60-year-old Patti MacDonald of Hauser is scheduled to appear in Kootenai County District Court on March 24.

Authorities say that MacDonald fractured Hornet's skull and broke its leg on Jan. 7.

Authorities say an Idaho Department of Fish and Game officer later received an anonymous call from a woman saying she tried to save a duck being attacked by a falcon.

Authorities say the phone system identified the caller as MacDonald.

MacDonald faces up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines.

Hornet's owner, Scott Dinger, says MacDonald should be charged with killing a protected species.

If there is an upside here (and I am not sure there is), it's that Scott Dinger is a former law enforcement officer and the events in question are well-recorded and witnessed by a minister. It's going to be hard to beat those two on the stand!

Scott Dinger went out of his way to work with this woman and get her to take personal responsibility.

She wouldn't, so now is the time for the heavy hand of the justice system to sort this out in a very Old Testament kind of way.

Apparently a 6-month stretch in jail and a $5,000 fine is possible under state law, but I would throw on five-fold damages for destruction of property (a Biblical punishment).

This woman should also be charged federally under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Killing a Peregrine Falcon is a federal offense carrying a maximum penalty of a $15,000 fine and 6 months in jail.

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