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E-M:/ Two Muskegon County Residents Charged With Killing Bald Eagles

Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>

CONTACT: Lt. David Davis 989-275-5151, ext. 2070; Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014

Two Muskegon County Residents Charged With Killing Bald Eagles

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resource Protection Section and the office of Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague today announced that felony and misdemeanor charges have been filed against two Muskegon County residents for their role in the illegal killing of two bald eagles on the Muskegon River in Muskegon County last spring.

The two individuals are charged with one count each of animal cruelty, a four-year felony, and one count each of killing a bald eagle, a 90-day misdemeanor. Another person was charged with the possession of a loaded firearm in a boat, which is a misdemeanor. A fourth person is charged with the misdemeanor of filing a false police report in relation to the incident.

According to DNR law enforcement reports, in April 2004, a person reported the discovery of parts of two freshly killed adult bald eagles on Creston Road near the Muskegon River. The initial report was made by a Muskegon man who saw three men beach a small boat after dark near Creston Road and hide something on shore. When the observer examined the area, he found the fresh eagle parts, which consisted of the legs, tail feathers and wings of two adult bald eagles.

Officials said the person who discovered the parts called 911 to report the incident. The evidence was collected by the Muskegon Township Police Department, who turned the case over to conservation officers. A DNR detective investigated the case and discovered that two individuals killed the eagles while fishing and camping on the Muskegon River. A detective with the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department and local conservation officers assisted with the investigation.

Bald eagles are listed on the state list of endangered species. Illegally killing a bald eagle is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine, $1,500 in liquidated damages, mandatory jail time, and a three-year suspension of hunting privileges. A person who willfully or maliciously kills an eagle under the Animal Cruelty Act is guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000.

Any person with information concerning the illegal killing of bald eagles or any other protected wildlife is encouraged to call the toll-free Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.


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