The state Department of Conservation again came under fire Monday from a Chicago animal-rights group upset over a pigeon shoot that occurred Dec. 31 in LaSalle County, near Seneca.
The group made news last year with similar protests in Peoria and other parts of the state against caged-pigeon shoots, in which live pigeons are catapulted out of small boxes and into the gunfire of participants, who pay an entry fee.
Although the events are conducted by private organizations, they had been licensed by the state.
Representative from the group marched into the DOC's offices Monday and demanded an explanation for the way the most recent soot was handled. The group also sought the resignation of Brent manning, the department's director, and Carol Knowles, a department spokesman.
Chicago Coalition of Animal Rights members said Knowles and Manning were spreading "confusion" about the pigeon shoot issue.
Knowles, saying she didn't take the call for her resignation seriously, countered that the pigeon shoot was a mater for the attorney general's office and not the DOC. Manning was out of town and unavailable for comment Monday.
"I appreciate their thoughts about the shoot, but I think they are just trying to get a media response," Knowles said.
Coalition member Steve Hindi said his group was "dead serious" about the resignations. He maintained the shoot violated state law.
Hindi contends a DOC officer told LaSalle Count law enforcement officials the shoot was legal.
Group representatives said the DOC officer's actions may have constituted an obstruction of justice, because an unofficial opinion from the state attorney general's office in September stated that the shoots were no longer legal.
However, Knowles said the opinion did not hold "the force of law," and the pigeon shoot issue would not be resolved until a court case on the matter is filed.