SHowing Animals Respect and KindnessSHARK
State says pigeon shoots are now illegal
Law allowing permits was repealed; different statute governs 'sport'
Wednesday, September 23, 1992
The Journal Star (Peoria, IL)
By Dayna R. Brown
Competitive pigeon shoots are apparently illegal in Illinois, according to an informal opinion from the Illinois Attorney General's Office.
A controversial competitive pigeon shoot in central Illinois last year was the focus of widespread attention.
The Attorney General's Office said pigeon shoots fall under the Humane Care for Animals Act, which does not prohibit shooting pigeons, but does make it illegal to breed animals, supply a facility, advertise an event or attend an exhibition where the intentional killing of animals will occur.
In a Sept. 16 letter to Will County State's Attorney Edward Burmila, Michael J. Luke, chief of the opinions division of Attorney General's Office, said as the department interprets the law they see the pigeon shooting competitions to be illegal.
"The key isn't so much you can't have a pigeon shoot, but the raising of animals for that purpose is against the law," said Ernie Slottag, spokesman for the Attorney General.
"You can shoot at pigeons, but when you are raising them for the purpose of killing you are violating the humane animals act," Slottag said.
Burmila asked in his letter if the Humane Care for Animals Act prohibits conducting organized events in which persons pay to shoot live pigeons as targets.
Until recently the Bird Shooting Act made it unlawful to shoot pigeons for a sporting purpose unless that person obtained a permit from the Illinois department of Conservation.
The Bird Shooting Act was repealed last December.
"This limited exception having been repealed, it appears that pigeon shoots … are now prohibited," Luke said.
Nationwide, activists have been fighting for many years to end to the sport of shooting pigeons.
Although the officials said they were not certain as to why the Bird Shooting Act was repealed, they said it probably had something to do with statewide protests.
In spring 1991 activists gathered to protest a pigeon shoot just outside of Canton.
Opponents heckled competitors and audience members of the 12th annual Holford Pigeon Shoot, although the shoot organizer received a permit from the department of conservation for the event.
Donald Holford of Norris, host of the shoot, could not be reached for comment.
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