Recently a video was released reportedly showing a pigeon shoot hosted at Wing Pointe. It showed participants not merely engaging in a shoot, about which there is heated disagreement as to legality, but violating the restrictions set forth in the Lash opinion. Berks County District Attorney John Adams has expressed his opinion that pigeon shoots are permitted under Pennsylvania law, citing the Lash judgement. He has also been quoted affirming the restrictions on behavior at shoots laid out in the Lash opinion. Since this footage appears to show a clear violation of the law as DA Adams has defined it and recognizing that DA Adams has many other priorities on his plate, the Humane Society of Berks County extended an offer to prosecute the violation of Pennsylvania law, under any guidelines he thought appropriate. Although forwarded to his office via email on October 12, 2012, HSBC has not received a reply to our offer of assistance in this clear violation of law and the restrictions reportedly affirmed by DA Adams. We are publishing the offer in the form of an open letter in order to make it clear that our organization attempted to enforce the law as written and as put forward in the Lash opinion and affirmed by DA Adams.
October 12, 2012
Dear District Attorney Adams,
The Humane Society of Berks County was forwarded a video purported to be footage of a pigeon shoot held at Wing Pointe on September 30, 2012 (link below). The video shows participants stomping, swinging birds into their feet and the ground, and kicking wounded birds on the ground.
Although I am aware of your belief that pigeon shoots are permitted in Pennsylvania, I have also recently seen that you have been quoted in the press saying that you believe that legality is grounded in the Lash decision and that the prohibitions on behavior laid out in the 2002 decision (no stomping, swinging, and kicking, etc.) provide “certain requirements that the shoots must comply with to stay within the confines of the law.” The participants shown on this video clearly violate the Lash requirements.
Since I understand that your office may have more pressing cases to attend to, I am offering the resources of the Humane Society of Berks County and its sworn Humane Society Police Officers (HSPO) to you and your Office. If you choose to prosecute this clear new evidence of cruelty to animals as defined by the Lash decision which you feel applies to pigeon shoots and the actions taken during their conduct, we will pursue the charges on your Office’s behalf, under your direction, and within the guidelines you choose to set for our officers. This deferred responsibility was the intent of the HSPO law. In light of the brazen and jovial manner in which the filmed shooters opted to violate and mock the clear limits you have cited publicly while upholding your belief that these shoots are legal under the Lash decision, I feel it is only appropriate to offer our support and resources.
Please let me know if you would like to speak further about this offer to assist you.
Karel I. Minor
Humane Society of Berks County