Friday, November 28, 2014

Wildlife Crime Leads to Prison Time

An Iowa man will be going to prison for intentionally killing an American bald eagle. On November
6, 2014, Jason John Thomas, age 36, of What Cheer, Iowa, was sentenced by District Court Judge John A. Jarvey to 60 days imprisonment for taking and possessing a bald eagle, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.
On March 16, 2011, Thomas took and possessed a bald eagle in rural Mahaska County. During a boat ride, Thomas saw the bald eagle on a bluff above the river. Thomas pursued the eagle as it flew down river, captured it after it landed in the river, and then struck and killed the bald eagle.
Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, "take" includes pursuing, shooting, shooting at, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, collecting, molesting or disturbing a bald or golden eagle.
“Cases like this often can't be made without someone who comes forward with information. We could solve a lot more serious wildlife crimes if witnesses were willing to become involved,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Deputy Assistant Director Edward Grace.
Concerned citizens are encouraged to call or email the national Turn In Poachers hotline if they witness any wildlife crime: 1-844-NWR-TIPS (697-8477) or email NWR_TIPs@fws.gov. The hotline is open 24 hours a day / seven days a week.
“We appreciate the work of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Attorney's Office and are thankful that the judge in this case found that prison time was appropriate,” continued Grace.
Thomas was ordered to serve one year of supervised release following the imprisonment, pay a $2,000 fine, and pay $25 toward the Crime Victim Fund. Special conditions of the supervised release include that Thomas shall perform 80 hours of community service, and shall not engage in any form of hunting.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa.
Learn more about the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/protect/laws.html