Smithfield man gets home confinement, probation for killing bald eagle

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Smithfield man who admitted to killing a bald eagle on his property back in March was sentenced on Monday.

Allen Thacker pleaded guilty over the summer to shooting a bald eagle,  denies running over the bird with his ATV. A March witness to the incident told officers she saw a man on a red ATV run over a bald eagle three or four times.

Court papers show Thacker shot the eagle because he was upset that it was hunting and taking fish from a pond in his yard.

Thacker received one month of home confinement and one year of probation in a sentencing hearing on Monday.

“The home confinement is like jail and I haven’t ever heard of anyone shooting an eagle going to jail so this is probably as close to that as we can get. So I’m pleased with that,” said Carol Senechal with the Eagle On Alliance.

Thacker was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, at a wildlife refuge. He must also pay $1500 restitution to the North American Wildlife Refuge Fund — a fine Senechal wishes was much higher.

“The bald and golden eagle protection act allows for a $100,000 fine and until somebody, some judge, considers a bald eagle worth that it’s going to keep happening,” she told

Thacker must also forfeit the firearm that he used to shoot the bird and pay the court the equivalent value of his ATV, $960.

A necropsy performed on the eagle showed it was shot, but that it died from blunt force trauma and a skull fracture.