Thanks to Adrian Seeley for calling to my attention this story about PGA Tour golfer Tripp Isenhour, who allegedly intentionally killed a red-shouldered hawk with a golf shot. According to the report, Isenhour repeatedly hit balls directly in the hawk's direction until he hit the hawk. After impact, the hawk, a protected migratory bird, fell to the ground bleeding from the nostrils. The bird was buried on the golf course—perhaps in an effort to hide the evidence—but was later dug up by Florida investigators.
Now, an ever so remorseful Isenhour wants you to be respectful of his privacy and leave him alone. Ironic, isn't it, since Isenhour wasn't willing to respect the hawk's privacy. Far from leaving the hawk alone, Isenhour (allegedly) took it upon himself to take repeated potentially-lethal potshots at the innocent bird, apparently thinking it funny at the time (according to Jethro Senger as quoted in the story).
Isenhour is charged with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 14 months in jail and $1,500 in fines.
Weigh in: Should Isenhour receive the maximum penalty allowable by law? Is the maximum penalty too light? Should Isenhour be banned from the PGA Tour for a period of years the way Michael Vick was banned from the NFL? What say you?
Would you feel differently if Isenhour had driven golf balls at your cat or dog until he succeeded in killing your pet? If so, why? If Isenhour had killed your cat or dog with the same kind of wanton disregard for your pet's life that he allegedly displayed toward the hawk's life, what kind of penalty would you want imposed on him?
As for myself, I hope that Isenhour receives the maximum penalty allowed by law. I would also like to see the PGA ban him from the Tour for a period of years. As a society, we should not tolerate such wanton acts of cruelty. We should make an example of Isenhour the way we made an example of Vick. Sadly, I suspect that Isenhour will receive no penalty at all. I hope I'm wrong.
Here is another take on Isenhour.