Magpie cops it after swoop

Subject: Magpie cops it after swoop
From: Vin <>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 13:41:39 +1100 (EST)

A feisty magpie picked the wrong person to swoop when it
menaced the son of a Victorian policeman in his backyard
on New Year's Day.

The suburban constable says he got his high-powered .22
rifle and killed the bird.

Now the policeman, from Diamond Creek, is under
investigation for discharging a firearm in a built-up area
and may face wildlife offences.

Animal activists are outraged over the death of the bird.
Magpies are protected.

The incident was reported to the police force's ethical
 standards department after the off-duty officer's neighbour
heard gunshots.

A police spokeswoman said yesterday that the officer had
been questioned about discharging a firearm in a populous
place, but no disciplinary action had been taken. It is
not known whether he will face criminal charges.

Ron Waters, the manager of flora and fauna compliance
at the Department of Sustainability and Environment, said
magpies were protected and it was illegal to deliberately
 kill them without a permit or authority. Doing so
carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment or
a $5000 fine.

Mr Waters said people who encountered swooping magpies
had several options, including getting a licensed
wildlife controller to trap the birds and then release
them elsewhere.

He said magpies and other swooping birds sometimes had
to be destroyed if they were dangerous but that was a
last resort.

RSPCA president Hugh Wirth said no one had the right to
kill a defenceless animal without authorisation.
"It's a protected bird and regardless of what it's done
he's got no legal right in my view to kill that bird
unless he's got ministerial permission," Dr Wirth

"All these birds are doing is protecting their young
from what they perceive to be a threat . . . I can
understand a child might be frightened about being
swooped upon but that bird was seeing that child as
a potential enemy so the bird was behaving perfectly

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