A woman in Idaho has been charged with a misdemeanor for beating a falcon to death with a beaded scarf in order to save the life of a duck. The falcon was owned by a hunter who used the bird to take down prey, including the duck the woman was trying to rescue.
According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, 60-year-old Patti MacDonald is facing a charge for beating or harassing an animal. Police reported that MacDonald used her scarf to fracture the skull of the 8-year-old falcon, killing it in the process. The duck she was trying to save didn’t survive the falcon attack anyway, and is now being stored as evidence.
MacDonald will appear at an arraignment hearing on March 24 and could be sentenced to six months in jail or $5,000 in fines.
But the bird’s owner, Scott Dinger, believes the punishment for beating his falcon should be much harsher. He believes MacDonald should be charged with killing an endangered species, since falcons are protected by conservation groups. His pet falcon was named Hornet and had been his pet since the day it was born. Despite his desire for a dire punishment, Dinger partially attributes the falcon’s death to its friendly nature.
“So they don’t really know they are falcons,” said the hunter. “That was probably a part of his undoing, because you could walk up to him and he wouldn’t fly or try to get away.”
According to the Associated Press, MacDonald was provoked to beat the falcon when it dove to kill a duck, which is what Scott Dinger had trained the falcon to do. MacDonald saw the duck being attacked by the falcon from the road and pulled over to intervene. Dinger was 500 yards away when MacDonald beat his pet falcon, so he was unable to stop the beating. The woman later admitted she had beat the falcon in a call to a regional conservation officer for Idaho Fish and Game.
Dinger saw his falcon fly away from the attack but he appeared injured. The falcon died later on from his injuries.
“The woman later stated that she had been very upset about the duck being injured,” said the conservation officer, “but [she] felt bad about injuring someone’s pet, because she ‘beat the crap out of it really hard.’ “
According to the New York Daily News, Dinger has called the charges against MacDonald “unacceptable” and is holding out for a less forgiving charge. He is having a hard time accepting that his pet falcon is dead, especially since falcons have a longer life expectancy when cared for by humans.
Do you think Patti MacDonald should have a more stringent punishment for beating the hunter’s falcon?
For a story about a much steeper sentence, read about the man who got 99 years in prison for animal cruelty.