Woman charged with killing hunter's falcon to save duck

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2015 6:42 PM
Woman charged with killing hunter's falcon to save duck

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho woman faces charges after authorities say she beat a hunter's falcon to death with a beaded scarf after seeing the bird of prey take down a duck.

Patti MacDonald, 60, of Hauser, was charged with a misdemeanor count of beating or harassing an animal, the Coeur d'Alene Press reported (http://bit.ly/1EVs0LB ).

Authorities say MacDonald fractured the skull of the 8-year-old falcon named Hornet on Jan. 7. The duck also died and was being stored as evidence, Idaho Fish and Game said.

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

He said he was about 500 yards away when Hornet made a successful attack and landed with the duck. He said he was approaching the spot then he saw a red Jeep Wrangler pull up to the side of the road, and Hornet flew away but appeared injured.

Dinger said the woman told him she beat the bird, which had been with humans since the day it was hatched.

"So they don't really know they are falcons," Dinger said. "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."

Craig Walker, a regional conservation officer for Idaho Fish and Game, said he later received an anonymous call from a woman saying she tried to save a duck from a falcon. The phone system identified the caller as MacDonald.

Walker wrote in his report that the woman stated "that she had been very upset about the duck being injured, but felt bad about injuring someone's pet."

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said he reviewed Walker's report and determined the misdemeanor charge was appropriate. Beating or harassing an animal is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 for a first-time offender.

No phone listing could be listed for MacDonald to try to reach her for comment Monday.

Dinger said it was tough to accept what happened because his bird was 8 years old, and falcons can live for about 30 years when they're with humans.

"I had planned for Hornet to live longer than me," Dinger said.

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Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com