A man from Virginia pleaded guilty to killing a bald eagle on Tuesday and faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for his actions.
Allen H. Thacker, 62, first shot the bald eagle and then ran it over with an all-terrain vehicle. He was arrested in March after a neighbor reported him to the law enforcement division of the Virginia Department of Game and Fisheries, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He felt that he needed to protect his property from the eagle since it had been hunting fish from a pond on his property, according to ABC News.
Thacker denied the allegations at first, but when a witness said they had seen Thacker driving over the bird, he admitted to shooting and running over the bird, according to CBS affiliate WUSA9.
Thacker told police that he tried to scare off the eagle with a warning shot, but it didn’t leave. He later admitted to investigators to using a .22 caliber rifle to shoot the eagle. After officers performed a necropsy on the eagle, they determined that the eage was in good condition and confirmed that Thacker shot the eagle with a .22 caliber rifle, according to ABC News.
Thacker must hand over all assets involved with the offense, including the rifle he used to shoot the bird. Since his sister also owns his ATV, he agreed to pay $960 instead of handing over the ATV, according to ABC News.
He is scheduled for sentencing in federal court on Oct. 23.
After nearly disappearing from the United States decades ago, bald eagles were removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in August 2007, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.