Man Sentenced for Killing Bald Eagle

There are a lot of things that farmers and ranchers have to contend with just to make a living. They have to worry about the weather and the prices of what they are trying to sell.

They also have to worry about the scavengers and other animals that would harm their crop or animals. They are given a wide berth as to what they can do to deal with certain kinds of pests. But now and then an innocent animal or federally protected animal ends up hurt or dead.

This is the case of one farmer in Texas that was dealing with other animals that were causing him to face hardship because of the amount of damage and money they were costing him.

Sometimes the punishments for crimes committed without knowledge are too much for the act of negligence. Leonard Cornelius lives in Bay City, Texas, and he is wrestling with the notion that the punishment is more than the crime committed.

Cornelius was sentenced to one-year probation and ordered to pay $12,000 in fines and restitution money to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. As if he committed the crimes against those people on purpose.

The death of a bald eagle was accidental. When the laws of the land do not necessarily match the level of crime, there is a problem. Cornelius had to plead guilty to the poisoning of the bald eagle. Even though he did not feed the food to the bird directly.

He was charged with a misdemeanor and ordered to face the judge in federal court. Cornelius could have been sent to jail for a year, but the judge decided not to go to the extreme like many liberal judges like to do. Cornelius’ lawyer Zachary Fertitta stated that “Our client has accepted responsibility for inadvertently causing the death of an eagle while trying to protect his crops and his ability to make a living as a farmer. My client is an ardent Patriot and would never purposely harm any symbol of American freedom.”

The bald eagle was once a protected animal but has since been taken off the list. It is protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The law keeps the national bird safe from being hunted and destroyed by people that would seek to harm the country. The bald eagle is the national bird for the country because it has a symbol and presence of strength.

Ironically, Cornelius was approached by federal agents while he was mixing corn with a poison that was designed to kill other birds and dangerous wild hogs. The wild hogs are a problem around the lower southern states. They breed fast and can destroy everything in a field in a day. No law keeps them from being killed by farmers as they pose that much of a threat and nuisance to farming.

Cornelius did not try to hide what he was doing. He did not even know that the bald eagle had died. He did note that he saw other birds dead and some hogs.

He even cooperated with the agents in removing the other poisoned corn. He was just trying to protect his farm from dangerous animals.

Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, it is “a crime to kill, possess, sell, transport, export or import, any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless specifically allowed by permit.”

Cornelius at least admitted his actions and took responsibility for them. Democrats would have lied and tried to cover up the truth to avoid the consequences.

Agent Phillip Land who serves on the Fish and Wildlife Service state that “We work with our state law enforcement partners on information sharing and investigations to effectively protect our nation’s wildlife resources.Through the effective enforcement of state and federal laws, we can conserve those trust species in the State of Texas and across the nation for future generations. We would like to thank the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this case.”