Watch: NJ teen caught kicking, hurling, throwing rocks at pigeons
Video used with permission from Showing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK)
A New Jersey teenager hired to humanely kill birds after a Philadelphia Gun Club pigeon shoot is now facing animal cruelty charges — after the incident in Bensalem, Pa. was captured on video by an animal rights group.
Steve Hindi of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness said one of the group's investigators was filming the shoot from across the Delaware River as part of its ongoing effort to monitor the Philadelphia Gun Club's activities.
The two organizations have been involved in litigation and are currently operating under a consent decree that required some concessions from the gun club — including that the gun club make someone available to quickly, humanely euthanize birds after shoots, Hindi said.
In the video, someone in a red hood is seen throwing rocks at the birds, and then flinging and kicking the birds themselves. He appears to be alone and unsupervised. He has been identified in news reports as being from Bridgeton, but police have not released his identity because of his age.
SHARK provided the video to police, but alleges the gun club didn't cooperate — telling police the club didn't have anyone in that area during the shoot and didn't know the individual involved.
“All we can say now is that we can’t identify who the person is, and we’re cooperating with the police investigation," attorney Sean Corr, representing the gun club, told Philly.com earlier this month. “It appears that he was down range during active shooting, and we don't station anybody in front of the firing line. That just adds to the mystery.”
Hindi told New Jersey 101.5 his organization then provided police with further footage — showing the person in the red hood coming out of the gun club's property and associating with its members.
"The Philadelphia Gun Club cooperated with the police and does not believe the individual would have been apprehended without our cooperation," Corr is quoted telling Philly.com in a newer report. A call to Corr by New Jersey 101.5 has not yet been returned.
Hindi called that an "amazing turnaround."
"They want credit for having put a kid out there by himself, a minor, torturing animals without supervision, after initially saying they don't know who he is," Hindi said.
In the Philly.com report, Bensalem Police Lt. William McVey said pigeon shoots are legal in Pennsylvania (though SHARK disputes that) — "so there's nothing we can do about that. Our concern is the treatment of the animal once it is shot, to make sure it's (euthanasia) done as humanely and swiftly as possible. In this case, it crossed the line."
A call to Bensalem Police has not yet been returned.