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Killing Contests: Cruel and Cowardly in Pennsylvania
Pigeon shoots are nothing more than a vile excuse for entertainment for the dull-witted or psychopathic. Illegal in other countries and in all but a couple of American states, most people realize the despicable nature of these bird-killing contests.
Legislation to stop cruel trapped animal shoots is pending in Pennsylvania. Please take action today and contact your representatives, urging them to vote for H.B. 1411/S.B. 843.
MAJOR UNDERCOVER OPERATION by SHARK EXPOSES HORRIFIC CRUELTY at BERKS
COUNTY LIVE PIGEON SHOOT
Pigeon Shoot Death Pile (Wing Pointe luxury resort)
For the past year, SHARK has been fighting against live pigeon shoots in PA. And while our focus has been on shoots held by private gun clubs such as the ones held at the Philadelphia Gun Club, Erdman Sportsman's Association and Pike Township Sportsmen's Association, there was one place the shooters thought themselves safe: the Wing Pointe commercial hunting grounds in Hamburg, PA.
Self-described as being "Resort Luxury for the Sport Shooting Enthusiast," this last bastion of pigeon shooting cruelty thought themselves immune to the public scrutiny that has engulfed the other shoots. But that all ended this past Sunday as SHARK's "Octocopter" - a remote controlled flying machine, with it's high-tech video camera, recorded their terrible cruelty for the world to see.
As barbaric as the shoot itself was, what SHARK discovered the next day was truly monstrous: Wing Pointe dumped the pigeons they had shot into a large pile, but not all of the pigeons were dead; three wounded but still living birds were found amongst the corpse pile.
What we found was a complete nightmare. Hundreds of dead birds, dumped like garbage, yet within this mound of death and cruelty were three sparks of life. Two did not survive, but one did and is receiving medical care. What Wing Pointe did was not just vile and immoral, but we believe illegal, and we are going to ask District Attorney John Adams to hold them accountable under the law for that.
D.A. Adams, who has received campaign donations from pigeon shooters, has previously directly interfered with and killed any attempt to have cruelty citations filed against pigeon shoots. If he uses his power to kill this complaint, we will expose this injustice and hold him to public condemnation.
Watch the video of SHARK's rescue of a pigeon from the death pile and then call and write Governor Ed Rendell and Governor-Elect Tom Corbett. Demand that they take action!
And let Corbett know that SHARK is going to continue to expose pigeon shoots and that these filthy acts will haunt his administration.
Both Rendell and Corbett will most likely answer that they can't do anything. False. They are the most powerful men in the state who hold extraordinary power, especially Corbett who is Pennsylvania's top lawman.
Tell them that it's long past time for them to stop bowing to the NRA and do their job!
Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
Phone: (717) 787-2500
Fax: (717) 772-8284
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett
Clear Channel Kills Anti-Pigeon Shoot Billboard the Day it is to Go Up!
Reason Given? To Protect PA Attorney General Tom Corbett
Click here to read the entire update.
A TV icon is taking a stand for the pigeons of Pennsylvania.
Bob Barker, the former game show host and one of the nation's most generous animal philanthropists, has donated $1 million to stop pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania and says he will be joining protesters outside a Bensalem gun club where shoots are being held regularly.
Barker said the donation will go to SHARK, an Illinois-based animal activist organization dedicated to putting a stop to these shoots.
Click here to read the entire article.
SHARK's Response to DA Adams
Friday, January 29, 2010
In response to complaints about his actions that are detailed in to the below videotape, Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams has responded to the public with a statement trying to rationalize his actions. To read his statement and SHARK's response to his obviously erroneous position, click here.
Prominent Philly Attorney Pays Fine for Attack
These attacks prove how desperate the pigeon shooters are to stop SHARK from exposing their heinous cruelty. These attacks also prove what The American Psychiatric Association, the FBI and other authorities have determined - "that violence to animals is precursor to violence to humans". It doesn't get any clearer than this and the public should be concerned about these violent offenders.
To the right is the docket entry in the case Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs Sean Corr with Sean Corr pleading guilty.
And below is the actual videotape of Attorney Sean Corr committing the assault that he eventually pled guilty to.
Pigeon Shooters Practice their "Three Cs" - Cruelty, Crime, Cowardice
On October 18th Steve Hindi was documenting a pigeon shoot at the misnamed Pike Township "Sportsman's" Club when he was assaulted. The cowardly killer's attack was completely unprovoked. Apparently, because Pennsylvania allows these twisted excuses for human beings to commit the wholesale slaughter of birds, they think they can do it to people, too.
Click here to see pictures of the pigeon killers including actual videotape of SHARK Investigators being assaulted!
In the past few days there have been FIVE great editorials in the
Pennsylvania press condemning the inhumane slob hunters that take pleasure in
the slaughter of innocent animals in the worst of all manners - pigeon shoots.
Please take a second and read them - click on the quotes below or any of the
first five headlines to the left.
Editorials against Pigeon Shooters
The Pocono Record called pigeon shoots: "Barbaric live-bird target practice."
The Lebanon Daily News said pigeon shoots are: "Diametrically opposed to the philosophy of hunting."
The Standard~Speaker called them an: "Embarrassment to the commonwealth."
The Patriot-News said: "Legislators should end this cruel practice."
Unbelievably, the NRA has taken a stand FOR Pennsylvania canned pigeon shoots. In defiance of all the facts to the contrary, they claim that "animal rights extremists are trying to ban this longstanding traditional shooting sport." What a load of rubbish. 49 other states have done away with this cruel practice not because of extremists, but rather because of real sportsmen who don't want this barbaric practice in their state. We have yet to hear of a single NRA member or hunter who is not making money off of pigeon shoots who stands up for these inhumane slaughterfests and defends them.
In fact, the Lebanon Daily News says that Pigeon Shoots are "diametrically opposed to the philosophy of hunting". We URGE all hunters to contact the NRA and tell them they aren't speaking for you on this issue.
See for yourself - you can check out an NRA-ILA "Action Alert" on the issue here.
See SHARK's investigative footage of these brutal pigeon Shoots!
Are Pigeon Shoots Hunters' Ethics? Pennsylvania is the only state allowing pigeon shoots. This killing contests are supported by the National Rifle Association and the Ku Klux Klan, but does the NRA truly speak for hunters and gun owners when it comes to this issue? Hunters and gun owners have a chance to state their position.
Hunters -- Is this you? This is another in a series of SHARK videos exposing Pennsylvania's live bird shoots, all of which are supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Is this hunting? Do hunters support this? If not, why do they allow the NRA to lump them in with these slob thrill killers?
NRA, KKK Love Live Pigeon Shoots : It's 2008, and Pennsylvania is a last bastion for live pigeon shoots, a "sport" of cowards supported by both the National Rifleman's Association and the Ku Klux Klan. A new law could end these slaughters, but one politician, House Majority Leader William DeWeese won't bring the bill up for a vote.
PA State Police Misconduct - Corrupt Cop : A Pennsylvania State Police Officer behaves in a most peculiar fashion. Is it shocking incompetence, or something far worse?
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $2,500 reward for information about illegal pigeon netting and trafficking. People are urged to call the toll-free HSUS live pigeon shoot Tip Line at 1-800-637-4124 with any information. Birds are often captured out of state and trucked into Pennsylvania for the competitions. To learn more about illegal netting and what you can do: CLICK HERE.
The Loud Call for Change
State Should Ban Live-Animal Shoots
August 12, 2008
Our Opinion: Such barbaric events are not sport. They should be outlawed.
How sporting would it be if the basket in the NBA were lowered from 10 feet to 5? How sporting would it be if batters in the major leagues were allowed to hit a ball off a tee? How sporting would it be if offenses in the NFL always started at their opponent's 20?
How sporting is it when live animals are released from cages a few yards away from people armed with shotguns?
Once again Pennsylvania in general and Berks County in particular set themselves apart from the rest of the country by allowing the Strausstown Rod & Gun Club's three-day pigeon shoot, an event that gives new meaning to the word sport.
Live-animal shoots are about as far removed from hunting, a true sport, as Henry Ford's Model A is from NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow.
As we said last year, hunting, depending on the game, can involve tracking, long hours waiting in a blind, skill at luring a target within range and the skill to aim at a target that could come from anywhere and move in any direction, sometimes with great speed.
And in many cases, the successful hunter is able to make a meal out of his kill, or at the very least a trophy.
None of that is true of a pigeon shoot. Indeed, who would want to eat a pigeon? Who would want to mount that bird and put it on display?
In fact many hunters throughout the commonwealth are opposed to pigeon shoots, and rightfully so.
But some members of the Strausstown Rod & Gun Club said they simply are shooting vermin, birds that were captured in areas where they are considered pests, and it is no more inhumane than poisoning the pigeons.
Are they trying to make a case for live-animal shoots or against the practice of poisoning pigeons?
Pennsylvania is one of only four states, Tennessee, Louisiana and Indiana are the others, where live-animal shoots are not outlawed. The commonwealth should join the vast majority of states that recognize the barbaric practice as cruel and inhumane.
Indeed, legislation has been introduced to do just that, but there are too many people in the Legislature who fear the wrath of the National Rifle Association, the biggest opponent of the bill.
But just as live-animal shoots are not about sport, they are not about gun rights. The legislation in no way would interfere with anyone's right to own a weapon or engage in legitimate hunting or shooting contests in which clay targets are employed.
Perhaps the most famous of the pigeon shoots in the commonwealth was the Fred Coleman Memorial Pigeon Shoot held annually in Hegins, Schuylkill County, until 1999, when officials decided it was becoming too expensive to defend lawsuits filed to end the fund raising event.
If the Legislature refuses to outlaw live-animal shoots, officials from local, state and national humane societies should consider filing suits similar to those that made the event in Hegins more trouble than it was worth.
After all, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that animal-rights advocates, who went to Hegins in droves to protest the shoot, could seek a court order to halt it, although no order was granted.
In the end, few people other than those who participate in these live-animal shoots would even try to make the argument that they are not are barbaric and shouldn't be banned in Pennsylvania.
It is time our Legislature takes the action to bring the commonwealth into the 21st century by outlawing these events.
State Keeping Pigeon Shoot Tradition Alive
April 8, 2008
I hear all the time that Pennsylvania isn't the place it used to be.
But there's one area in which our state still is our nation's leader.
The Humane Society of the United States says Pennsylvania is the only state where hunters still openly gather to gun down captive birds. It's a practice that has been rendered illegal or just too revolting in every other state of the Union.
And that's not all, for those who like to see the Lehigh Valley area in the forefront. With the big annual event in Hegins, Schuylkill County, a distant memory after years of high-profile protests, the only county in Pennsylvania where pigeon shoots still are a regular practice is Berks.
That's right. Less than an hour from downtown Allentown, you can watch guys blast captive birds to smithereens.
I know, because I did it Saturday. The inaptly named Pike Township Sportsmen's Association in Oley staged a pigeon shoot last weekend, and I drove over there to check it out.
Heidi Prescott of the Humane Society says this club is part of a circuit of three in Berks that stage a shoot every couple of weeks. There's good money in it. I saw a flier from a Strausstown Gun Club pigeon shoot last year that offered a $4,000 straight purse, as well as trophies, belt buckles and other prizes. Strausstown is another club on the circuit.
Frankly, I can't think of anything less sporting than a pigeon shoot, except maybe shooting animals you have tied up. Here's how it works.
They set up a bunch of ''traps'' -- small wooden boxes -- in one or more shooting rings. When a spring-loaded trap pops open, the dazed bird is propelled out, tries to flutter away and is blasted by Elmer Fudd.
Some of the birds go down dead right away in a puff of feathers. A lot of them are just injured, so they flap or walk around while the hunt continues. Trapper boys eventually run out and collect them in nets or boxes and take them over to a shed, where they are, ahem, dispatched. More on that in a moment.
Once in a while, a bird makes it out of the ring and flaps into the woods, apparently safe. But as Prescott and others have pointed out, they're often injured, so it may just take them a while to die.
''That's one of the cruelest aspects of the shoots,'' Prescott said. ''The animals that die over period of hours or even days and are unretrieved.''
Speaking of cruel, the trapper boys (and girls) -- in many cases, young teens -- traditionally have dispatched the injured birds by wringing their necks, kicking them around, tearing their wings off and so forth, preparing a new generation of pigeon shooters for the proper state of mind.
But as a result of a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed several years ago against the Pike Township club, they're not allowed to indulge in such cruel practices, at least not out in the open. Now, according to a deposition in the suit -- which still is making its way through the system -- the birds are brought alive to the shed, where their heads in some cases are cut off with garden shears.
Yeah, much better.
Ethan Eddy, a U.S. Humane Society lawyer who is representing Pennsylvania Legislative Animal Network police officer Johnna Seeton in the suit against the club, observed, ''It's unfathomable to me that we have to litigate this matter in Pennsylvania in 2008. Several state courts banned pigeon shoots as illegal animal cruelty well over a century ago -- New York in 1874, then my home state of Colorado in 1896, and New Jersey in 1905 [and many others since].
''Colorado was barely a state when it put two and two together on that, yet we are still trying to sort this out in Pennsylvania.''
Hey, better late than never. And there is some hope that Pennsylvania may finally lose its distinction as a hotbed for unsporting sportsmen. More on that Thursday.
For The Birds
June 26, 2008
In both the Pennsylvania House and Senate judiciary committees are two bills (HB 2130 and SB 1150) that would ban live bird shoots in Pennsylvania. They are bills whose time is past due.
There are those who will view this call as either anti-gun or anti-hunter. It is neither. It is a move against inhumane treatment of animals.
These shoots are an extreme example of a blood sport and should not be afforded protection. Pennsylvanians are sensitive to hunting and gun issues, but there's no logic to the argument. Just as one cannot hunt over bait or fish in a hatchery area, one should not be allowed to target live birds that in some cases are tied in place. Again, it's an issue of humane treatment of animals, not one relating to guns and hunting.
Massachusetts and Vermont are among the states where the practice is already banned. Wait a minute, we hear the critics crying, those are liberal states, we don't need to lockstep with them. Fair enough, but consider that West Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan, all of which are strong hunting states, have also specifically banned the practice.
Consider that Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas and South Dakota have cruelty laws on the books that would ban such shoots, though none have taken place in those states for some time.
Consider that Texas and Colorado have legal opinions in place holding that such shoots would be illegal.
There is more than enough precedent to be found in states where hunters roam in numbers that this particular activity need not be protected. Pennsylvania should join the team.
This issue hasn't come across our in-house radar in a number of years. Once, the rallying cry for shoot bans in Pennsylvania centered on Hegins, whose Labor Day Pigeon Shoot once drew the attention and droves of protesters to that tiny Schuylkill County town.
The Hegins shoot's been on hiatus for some years now, and fewer and fewer shoots still being held. We predicted, back in the days of the Hegins shoot, that the activity would likely die out of its own accord. It appears we were right, in great part, given the dearth of such activities in the state today. But it makes no sense to allow for such an activity to remain on the books as legal when it does not deserve the protection.
If pigeon populations are a problem in urban areas (and they can sometimes become so,) then let humane eradication measures be taken. The birds for local shoots often come from urban trappers, but they're certainly not solving the entire issue of pigeon overpopulation, and there are far more humane elimination tactics available than crating the birds up, shipping them hundreds of miles, stuffing them in small cages and letting target shooters see if they can take them down. Let's apply a little common sense here.
You will never hear us argue against hunters who act properly in the wild, observe seasons and bag limits and follow the hunting rules. Ditto for anglers. Outdoorsmen are among the most important conservators of our environment out there, and they have been for decades especially in Pennsylvania where our vast acres of game lands were paid for from hunting-license fees.
Let's get these bills out of committee and into law where they belong.
Ban Bird Shoots
June 08, 2008
Captive bird slaughters always have been cruelty masquerading as sport. That Pennsylvania has not yet banned such events, becoming one of the last places on the continent where they are legal, is an ongoing embarrassment to an allegedly civilized society.
Two years ago residents and government officials in the North Pocono community of Covington Township rallied effectively to prevent an out-of-state group from conducting a live pigeon-shooting event there. Since then, however, the state government has done nothing to outlaw such events.
It's not that the state Legislature has not had opportunities. Soon after he took office last year, Rep. Frank Shimkus introduced a bill to outlaw the shooting of captive birds, while a companion bill was introduced in the Senate.
Now, with lawmakers preoccupied by the upcoming budget debate, the bills languish in committees.
These bills have nothing to do with hunting. They specifically exclude any activity regulated by the state Game Commission. Simply put, the bills replace institutionalized cruelty with humane treatment of animals.
Lawmakers should be able to quickly pass both bills in order to lift the state's bloody stain from using live animals for target practice.
End Barbaric Live-Bird Shoots
June 16, 2008
Monroe County Sen. Pat Browne, R-16, is sponsoring an important and humane bill to ban live pigeon shoots.
Yes, sad to say, under the guise of "sport" target practice, some people still arrange for delivery of hundreds of live, captive birds, which are released and then shot by "sport" shooters. Why a clay pigeon wouldn't do just as well is hard to fathom. A unanimous Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision ended the infamous annual Labor Day pigeon shoots in Hegins, in Schuylkill County, by authorizing humane officers to prosecute participants for animal cruelty. Yet live pigeon shoots still take place in Berks County and elsewhere in Pennsylvania, one of the only states where such events remain legal.
Organizers try to stay under the radar, naturally, so people who care about the fair treatment of animals don't interfere. These live bird shoots are on the same level with repugnant contests where people tie turkeys to bales of hay and shoot at them with arrows, or where they release wild boars or other "game" animals inside fenced compounds and then let shooters have at them.
Don't kid yourself. It could happen here. Monroe County's sensible neighbors to the west in Lackawanna County successfully fought the North American Flyers group when it tried to hold a live pigeon shoot in Covington Township. Quick opposition from neighbors, township supervisors and the Humane Society of the United States prompted the NAF to cancel the event.
Just imagine the state these birds must be in after traveling in small cages, often without food or water, then are "launched", sometimes fluttering only a few feet in the air, a few dozen yards from shotgun-wielding target shooters, who get prizes for culling the most birds.
According to the Humane Society, at the Hegins shoots about 10 percent of the birds escaped, while 20 percent were killed outright. The rest, about 70 percent, were simply wounded. They died of shock, dehydration, infection, or they bled to death. Neighbors of pigeon shoots report finding the birds as much as a week later.
Ending this cruel practice seems like the least our legislators could do, but the bills remain stuck in their respective judiciary committees. The HSUS has been meeting with legislators to try to move Browne's S.B. 1150 and also House Bill 2130, which would ban the launching or tethering of captive birds at live shoots. The bills state explicitly that the prohibition would not restrict any Pennsylvania Game Commission-condoned hunting practices.
Sen. Browne, who represents Chestnut Hill, Ross and Hamilton townships in Monroe County, hopes that true hunters and anyone who supports the humane treatment of animals will indicate their support for S.B. 1150 to end live pigeon shoots. The best way to do that is to contact Judiciary Committee members and urge them to have committee Chairman Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-12, bring it to a vote. Sen. Lisa Boscola , D-18, who also represents part of Monroe County, is a committee member. Her Stroudsburg office number is (570) 420-2938. Call now and help end this barbaric practice in Pennsylvania.
Ban Shooting of Tethered Targets
June 16, 2008
It is the nature of law that legislators do not proscribe activities in the abstract. Rather, they pass regulations in response to problematic behavior. Such is again the case with regard to legislation led by state Rep. Frank Shimkus, D-Lackawanna, in the House (HB 2130) and by Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, (SB 1150) regarding pigeon shoots and the killing of other tethered birds.
The practice defies decency. Dealers release pigeons -- disoriented from lack of food and water and sleep, from a box or trap that become targets for shotgun-wielding shooters. For days afterwards, neighbors find dead and dying birds in nearby yards. The Humane Society reports that, every year in Pennsylvania, 22,000 birds are released, one at a time, from boxes in front of shooters with shotguns, who use them for target practice. Such events also include tying turkeys to bales of hay and shooting them for prizes and money. Real sportsmen and women use clay pigeons to compete or practice their marksmanship.
There is opposition to these bills from some who fear that any restriction on one's use of guns -- or bow and arrow -- might lead to greater restrictions of the Second Amendment. And so, the bills languish in committees. We have no quarrel with those who wish to hunt game animals in the wild. But a pigeon shoot is not hunting.
The target birds are gathered from other states and brought to Pennsylvania, which has become the center of a practice as ugly as cockfighting and dog fighting. Such shoots are proscribed in 46 states; New York, New Jersey and Texas among them. Even Tennessee, the only state that specifically permits pigeon shoots, is not known recently to have had any.
The state's best known pigeon shoot was in Hegins Township, Schuylkill County, where the Fred Coleman Memorial Pigeon Shoot began in 1933 as a means of giving prizes and raising money to feed hungry citizens and to support local charities. The spectacle died a natural death there, but according to the Humane Society, 22 others were held here last year. Though most are not widely publicized they are just as objectionable.
Some people who own guns are not sportsmen. Using hapless animals as targets is neither sportsmanlike nor civilized in today's society. It becomes necessary, therefore, to follow other states and ban this pitiless practice from our commonwealth.
Legislation to stop cruel trapped animal shoots is pending in Pennsylvania. Please take action today and contact your representatives, urging them to vote for H.B. 1411/S.B. 843.
Witnessing a pigeon shoot awakened a determined hunter and fisherman to become an inspiring animal protector. After 30 years of killing animals in the name of "sport", Steve Hindi threw down guns, picked up cameras, and founded SHARK.