Local officers seized a bald eagle from the home of Greencastle, Indiana man, Jeffrey Henry and charged him with unlawful possession of the bird. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received an anonymous tip that Henry was keeping the eagle in his apartment, an action punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Bald eagles have been federally protected since 1940 when Congress recognized the need to guard the species’ diminishing population. The “Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act” prohibits hunting, possession and sale of the birds along with their nests and eggs.
As reported by WISH News 8, Henry had the bird in his home for 11 hours after several weeks of caring for the sick animal in the wild. The outdoorsman told the station that he noticed the bird a few weeks ago when he was hunting for mushrooms in Putnam County. The eagle was unable to fly, stuck in mud, and hungry, so he fed it fish eventually two times a day. When campers on four-wheelers arrived in the area, Henry suspected the grounded eagle would be in danger. He said, “I took him a fish out there and as we was leaving, the bird starting following me, and continued to follow me, there’s no way to actually chase him off because he’d turn around and run right back to me. So I put the bird up on my arm and we got in the truck and took him to the house.” Having previously worked for the DNR, Henry knew he was breaking the law saying, “I’m probably going to be in a little bit of trouble, which I understand.” Though Henry believes he made the right choice adding, “I chose to take the punishment over the welfare of the bird.”