Violence against pigeon shoot protestors escalates, activist struck in hit-and-run

In the minds of those who oppose pigeon shooting in Pennsylvania, there is no justice for pigeons who are getting blown out of the sky at close range with increasing frequency lately.

But is there also no justice for those who seek to protect them?

The level of attacks against the small band of inviduals who have been demonstrating - by all accounts - peacefully on public roadways in Berks and Bucks counties (which, along with Dauphin County, are the last three counties where pigeon shoots are known to take place) has escalated over the past six months. 

What began with racial slurs, then a bodily threat with a gun, followed by a bloody attack with the buckle end of a dog leash and now, just hours ago, an apparent hit-and-run that sent a protestor to the hospital.

Why do pigeon shooters feel emboldened to act with such brazen abandon? Because - despite repeated and documented assaults available for the world to see on YouTube - these individuals have not yet been charged with any serious crimes.

Neither the Berks County District Attorney John Adams nor Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler has pursued assault charges against anyone involved in the incidents.

Nor will either prosecutor let cruelty charges proceed against shooters who leave wounded birds to die. Under the state animal cruelty statute, not providing veterinary care to a sick or injured animal is a crime.

Two decades of efforts to ban pigeon shooting through legislation has so far failed, but a bill made a landmark leap out of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year and remains alive in the legislature. 

The NRA backs the shoots and has come out strongly against the bill, despite the feeling of many hunters that firing at birds launched from spring-loaded traps at close range does not constitute hunting. And, they say, leaving wounded birds to die violates the traditional hunter's code that you do not allow your prey to suffer.

The film of Saturday's incident at Wing Pointe in Hamburg, Berks County, shows a mini-van driving at high speed veering off the road and onto the grass directly into the camera, which was being handled by Steve Hindi, founder of the group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHark).

Hindi was taken to a local hospital with a hand injury, the group said in a press release. SHark also said the driver of the mini van was apprehended by state police who were at the scene.

The group says it will continue its protest on Sunday.

Stay tuned for more.