Showing Animals Respect & Kindness drone shot down while videotaping the killing
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania––Live pigeon shoots held at The Berm, near Dalmatia, Pennsylvania, on June 3, 2018, and on June 4, 2018, at the nearby Erdman Sportsmen’s Club, appear to have been the biggest since Libre’s Law, pushed by the Humane Society of the U.S. and Humane Pennsylvania, in 2017 specifically exempted pigeon shoots from prosecution for cruelty to animals.
Both shoots were extensively publicized.
“Couple of thousand pigeons”
“A couple of thousand pigeons were slain,” said Showing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) founder Steve Hindi.
Hindi speculated that the two shoots were part of a concerted effort to revive interest in the killing contests, which have fallen off sharply in participation and prominence during the 28 years that he has videotaped them and led protests against them.
“On Saturday,” Hindi said, “the slaughter started at 8:00 am and lasted for eleven hours. On Sunday the slaughter lasted for eight hours. People came from several states. A couple of guys from New York attended both pigeon shoots. These guys spent 19 hours blowing away scared emaciated caged pigeons.”
Pennsylvania State Police investigating
The June 3 pigeon shoot culminated when two alleged shoot participants shot down a $15,000 SHARK drone––which Hindi told ANIMALS 24-7 may have captured and transmitted recognizable images of the shooters as they aimed and fired. The drone was recovered.
“Pennsylvania State Police have launched an investigation,” reported Fox 43 News of Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania state capital, three days later.
“Two apparent rifle shots hit the drone, causing it to crash in a field,” Fox 43 News confirmed. Drone pilot Steve Hindi holds certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to commercially fly drones, and was legally operating his drone at the time.
“A criminal act took place”
“A trooper on the scene stated that he believed a criminal act had taken place,” Fox 43 News continued. “Hindi praised the professionalism of the state police officers.”
Despite the shootdown, SHARK “launched a second aircraft and resumed the video documentation of the pigeon shoot,” the Fox 43 News report finished.
Fox 43 News described the location as “property adjacent to Martz’s Game Farm, outside Dalmatia, Pennsylvania,” a 206-year-old unincorporated hamlet of under 500 residents, in Northumberland County.
Signs, signs, everywhere signs
The next day, at Erdman, Hindi said, “The killers put up ‘Drone Flying Prohibited’ signs all around the area. Of course we flew right over their miserable heads and got good footage of them. On Monday morning we went back out to the killing fields to see if we could find and rescue any wounded pigeons. Two were found,” in contrast to the dozens Hindi and fellow SHARK activists have found after similar shoots at the Philadelphia Gun Club and the Wing Pointe Gun Club in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
NewsLibrary.com and NewspaperArchive.com agree that the last time “Dalmatia, Pennsylvania” was mentioned in news coverage of anything was in 2014.
Exploiting birds appears to be about all that Dalmatia was ever known for, the most prominent local industry having been the Sunshine Chicken Hatchery, operated by one F.A. Phillips in the 1920s.
Erdman, 15 miles away, served by the post office in the unincorporated village of Lykens, is even smaller and more obscure. The cluster of houses at a fork in rural roads appears to have last been mentioned in news coverage in a a 2012 funeral notice, and fewer than a half dozen times ever, going back into the 19th century.
But Erdman did get fleeting notoriety on May 31, 2018 from Erika Shych of CBS Local 21 News.
“Erdman’s Sportsmen’s Association in Lykens hosts an annual pigeon shoot which will take place this weekend,” Shych reported. “With the signature of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland just became the most recent state to outlaw pigeon shoots. But in Pennsylvania, efforts to do the same have come up short.
Pigeon shoot ban bill appears to be dead
“The Humane Society of the United States says Pennsylvania is one of the only states where they openly and regularly occur,” Shych continued, displaying SHARK pigeon shoot video images taken from YouTube and misattributed to HSUS.
“Senate Bill 612 would change that,” Shych said, citing a state bill promoted by HSUS and Humane Pennsylvania which has remained in the Pennsylvania Senate judiciary committee since April 13, 2017, with practically no chance of passage.
By contrast, HB 1238, “Libre’s Law,” a purported reform of Pennsylvania humane law, sailed through to passage in 2017 after an apparent blanket exemption for pigeon shoots was added to it through language excluding from prosecution “Shooting activities not otherwise prohibited under this subchapter.”
Libre’s Law might potentially have helped to facilitate an average of 13 cruelty prosecutions per year in Pennsylvania since 2007––about the same as the number of living pigeons that SHARK video from Wing Pointe shows being thrown alive into a barrel and/or being buried alive at just one of many pigeon shoots held there each year.
“You should be thanking us”
Before heading home from Erdman, Hindi recounted, “We had an enlightening conversation with an old soy bean farmer, who told us that the shooters were doing a good thing because pigeons poop on farmers’ roofs and on their crops. We replied ‘All birds poop on your roof and your crops. These guys are bringing in 1,000 pigeons, and a number of the pigeons were lucky to avoid getting shot, so now, thanks to these guys, you’re going to have more poop on your roof and crops.’
“He then said pigeons are diseased, so the shooters are doing a good thing,” Hindi continued. “We said, ‘If that’s the case why do you allow these guys to catch alleged diseased pigeons in New York City and let them loose in your area?’
“We pointed out his soy bean field and said ‘A lot of our friends eat a lot of soy. You really should be thanking us.’ Then he left.”