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Thread: Pro golfer charged with killing noisey hawk with golf ball

  1. #1
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Default Pro golfer charged with killing noisey hawk with golf ball

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—An animal rights group wants the PGA Tour to take action against player Tripp Isenhour, facing charges for hitting a hawk with a golf shot because it was making noise as he videotaped a TV show.
    “Because of the high profile nature of this case, the PGA needs to take steps to address its interest and to make it clear that they don’t condone animal cruelty,” said Dale Bartlett, the Humane Society of the United States’ deputy manager for animal cruelty issues.
    He said the organization would contact the PGA Tour on Friday to discuss the issue.
    Isenhour was charged Wednesday with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird, misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of 14 months in jail and $1,500 in fines.
    Isenhour, playing the Nationwide Tour this season after losing his PGA Tour card last year, apologized in a statement released Thursday and said he was only trying to scare the hawk away.
    The 39-year-old player, whose real name is John Henry Isenhour III, became angry while filming “Shoot Like A Pro” on Dec. 12 at the Grand Cypress Golf Club—his home course—when a squawking red-shouldered hawk forced another take.
    He got in his golf cart and drove closer to the bird, then 300 yards away, and starting hitting balls at it. The bird didn’t move and Isenhour gave up and drove away.
    Isenhour started again when the hawk moved within about 75 yards, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Brian Baine indicated in a report.
    Isenhour allegedly said, “I’ll get him now,” and aimed for the hawk.
    “About the sixth ball came very near the bird’s head, and (Isenhour) was very excited that it was so close,” Baine wrote.
    A few shots later, witnesses said he hit the hawk. The bird, protected as a migratory species, fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils.
    “As soon as this happened, I was mortified and extremely upset and continue to be upset,” Isenhour said in a statement issued through his management company, SFX Golf. “I want to let everyone know there was neither any malice nor deliberate intent whatsoever to hit or harm the hawk. I was trying to simply scare it into flying away.”
    Bartlett said Isenhour’s case, like the Michael Vick dog fighting case, is disappointing for society.
    “We look up to professional athletes and we want them to reflect the best of us as a society and I think we’re appalled when it turns out they instead reflect some of the very worst attributes,” he said in a phone interview Thursday night.
    Isenhour said he is an animal lover and his family has adopted three cats from a local shelter.
    “We ask that everyone accept my sincerest apology, and please be respectful of my family’s privacy,” he said.
    Isenhour has won four times on the Nationwide Tour, including twice in 2006. The former Georgia Tech star has played three events this year on the developmental circuit, the last a 36th-place tie two weeks ago in the Moonah Classic in Australia.
    Jethro Senger, a sound engineer at the shoot, said hitting the bird was “basically like a joke to (Isenhour).”
    “He just kept saying how he didn’t think he could have hit it, which I think is a stupid thing for a PGA Tour golfer to say,” Senger said. “He can put a ball in a hole from hundreds of yards away, and here he is hitting line drives at something that’s, I don’t know, a couple hundred feet away?”
    Senger said no one in the roughly 15-person crew intervened, and many later regretted it.
    “It was one of those cases where there’s some trepidation on whether or not they should speak up and do something,” Senger said.
    Senger said the killing was not captured on video. The bird was buried at the golf course and later dug up by Florida investigators.
    “Americans have no tolerance for cruelty to animals. Such a petty, mean spirited act against a wild bird is inexcusable and prosecutors are right to hold Isenhour accountable to the law,” Humane Society executive vice president Michael Markarian said in a statement released Thursday.

  2. #2
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    well isnt that funny, comparing this to Michael Vicks case. Stupid bird. and dont even get me started on the protection of some animals. by my house, we have a preserve, that has to be left untouched for certain birds. its ugly, and its called a slough (pronounced slew). Tijuana Slough. We will do everything we can to make sure this place and some silly bird life is safe, but cant use open space to build something for homeless people. America!
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    ^^Yeah, I agree with you about the extent to which we'll go in this country to protect some animals, but won't go to the same lengths for people. And the comparison to Michael Vick didn't make any sense, so I don't know why they did it. A dog fighting ring is a LOT worse than killing one bird.

    But, at the same time, this guy knew that he was probably going to kill that bird, I mean what else did he think was going to happen when he kept hitting golf balls at the bird?

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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    Ok, not Michael Vick proportions by any stretch but this jerkoff deserves to be punished or at least shunned for this. That poor bird

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Yea, he's sure "sorry" about this incident.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    The golfer's 'defending' himself now:

    Golfer defends hawk killing
    Associated Press


    Pro golfer Tripp Isenhour said it was a "one-in-a-million" golf shot that killed a protected hawk and that he was only trying to scare the bird he now faces criminal charges for killing.
    Isenhour spoke on the Golf Channel's PODS Championship post-round show Friday, his first interview since news broke that he killed the protected bird Dec. 12.
    Investigators say Isenhour got upset because the hawk's loud chirps interrupted the filming of his instructional video. He was charged Wednesday in Orange County Circuit Court with animal cruelty and killing a migratory bird, charges that carry a combined 14 months in jail and $1,500 in fines.
    "What happened was, you know, the bird was making noise, but the fact that I was upset was inaccurate," Isenhour said. "There were several others trying to get the bird to simply fly away. That's all we were trying to do. The bird was high up in the tree and I was simply just tying to hit the tree to make the bird fly away."
    Also Friday, the head of the Humane Society of the United States faxed PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem a letter urging "appropriate remedial action against Isenhour up to and including fines and suspension."
    "By setting an example of compassion for the public, the PGA has the chance to make a difference for our communities and instill an ethic of animal protection," Humane Society president and CEO Wayne Pacelle wrote.
    Isenhour is playing the Nationwide Tour this year, but has played two years on the PGA Tour. He lost his card both times after failing to finish in the top 125 money winners.
    "Obviously, any set of facts which involve an individual hitting a golf ball at a living target is clearly inappropriate behavior," PGA Tour executive vice president Ty Votaw said in a written statement. "Tripp has publicly apologized and expressed remorse and regret about his actions. We find this entire incident regrettable and unfortunate."
    Because of the hawk's killing, Isenhour also lost his practice privileges at Grand Cypress Resort, where the crew was filming.
    Isenhour, whose real name is John Henry Isenhour III, said it was foolish for people to believe he could have realistically hit the bird.
    "That's obviously people who don't know very much about golf," he said. "To say it's a one-in-a-million shot for an accident like that to happen, you know, and when it did happen, I was very remorseful, very upset that it happened.
    "The event did occur, but it didn't exactly occur that way, exactly as they described it. My reaction from the time it happened has been one of regret and remorse that it happened, because it was an unfortunate accident. We all have had unfortunate accidents happen."
    Prosecutors say the 39-year-old player took several shots at the hawk, first driving to it in a golf cart after the bird interrupted filming from 300 yards away. When the bird later landed within 75 yards, Isenhour's shots got closer until he eventually hit and killed the hawk. It fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils, witnesses told the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
    PGA Tour players didn't seem too shaken.
    "It's a bad break for the bird, but it sounds like there are a lot of other things people should be worried about," Mark Calcavecchia said.
    "He probably just didn't think. He didn't think, 'If I actually hit the bird, what happens?'" Lee Janzen said. "A girl from North Carolina got murdered yesterday and there's no suspect. That's a lot more important. If it could have nicked him, scared him off, we'd never have heard of this. Unfortunately, the bird got hit."


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