ALDF, Wildlife Emergency Services Offer $6,250 Reward for Information Leading to Arrest and Conviction in Shooting of Great Blue HeronPosted on November 6, 2014
For immediate release:
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund
HOLLISTER, Calif. — Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) along with Wildlife Emergency Services are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s) responsible for shooting a Great Blue Heron. The wounded bird was found the week of Halloween, huddled in a corner of a local resident’s backyard. Officials with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for the Monterey County Wildlife Center rescued the heron, who was shot with pellets from an air rifle. WES is offering $5,050 supplemented by ALDF’s $1,000 and $200 from an anonymous donor, bringing the total to $6,250.
Migratory birds like the Great Blue Heron are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, under Fish and Game Code 3513. Under these laws and California’s Penal Code§ 597(a)—which prohibits maliciously and intentionally maiming, mutilating, torturing, or wounding a living animal—the perpetrator(s) could be charged with a misdemeanor offense leading to one year in the county jail and/or a $20,000 penalty, or face felony charges and three years in the county jail and/or a $20,000 fine.
The heron is receiving medical attention at the International Bird Rescue in Fairfield. Great Blue Herons are tall, graceful birds who live in marshes, sloughs, shorelines, lakes, and riverbanks. They weigh an average of five to six pounds and can live up to 24 years of age. Studies show Great Blue Herons play an important role in the health of local habitats by eating primarily the diseased and weakest fish near the surface of the water.
“This majestic bird is the victim of animal cruelty and has endured great suffering,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Studies prove a link between violence against animals and violence against humans. If anyone has information we urge them to come forward.”
Information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for shooting this heron can be given confidentially to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife CalTip line 888-334-2258; or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 650-876-9078.