Feds say Smithfield man shot, ran over bald eagle with ATV

SMITHFIELD, Va. (WAVY) — A Smithfield man is facing a federal misdemeanor charge for allegedly shooting a bald eagle on his Swamp Mill Road property, and then running it over with an all terrain vehicle “until it was dead,” according to a federal criminal information sheet.

Court paperwork has identified the man as Allen H. Thacker. A neighbor described him as an avid sportsman who always follows the law. No one answered the door at Thacker’s home Thursday, and his attorney declined comment at this time.

10 On Your Side spoke with a woman who says she witnessed the March 13 incident. She says she was driving near the Swamp Mill Road property and called Isle of Wight Animal Control.

Ultimately, the incident was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as killing a bald eagle is a misdemeanor federal offense, a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

“It’s unconscionable because people, they have to know that shooting a bald eagle is against federal law,” said Carol Senechal, with the Eagle On Alliance. “We exist to protect bald eagles from harm and anytime you hear something like this, it just takes your breath away.”

Senechal is raising money for a reward in an unrelated shooting of another bald eagle earlier this month.

“I’ve been on the news too much in the last couple of weeks because of bald eagle shootings. This has to stop, and the only way we can get this to stop is to educate the public,” she said.

Court paperwork did not provide any information about a possible motive. If convicted, the U.S. Attorney’s Office asks that Thacker forfeit his ATV and his firearms.