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Federally-protected hawk shot, recovering in Collier County

Posted at 6:27 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 20:04:34-05

A red-shouldered hawk is recovering at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital in Naples, after being shot by a pellet gun in eastern Collier County.

Federal law protects birds of prey such as hawks. Shooting one can cost an offender as much as $15,000, and can result in six months in jail.

"To know people are out there purposely injuring animals for no reason except bad judgment is very, very frustrating," said Joanna Fitzgerald, director of von Arx Wildlife Hospital. 

She said that people sometimes shoot hawks to protect their farm animals, like chickens and ducks, from being hunted by the predatory birds. But she said that prosecution doesn't always happen in these cases, especially if the shooter is a child.

"We've had a lot of instances where a child was given a BB gun, and the parents just weren't aware of what the child was doing," Fitzgerald said.

She said that none of the other birds treated at von Arx this year for gunshot wounds have survived, but that the hawk seems to be responding well to treatment.

For a link on information on how to legally deal with an aggressive hawk near your property, just click here.