Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) claims a drone it had deployed over a pigeon-hunting fundraising event for Sen. Jim Inhofe was shot down by a high-powered rifle as it gathered footage in Greer County.
SHARK had already set its sights on Inhofe, filing federal ethics complaints following a 2014 fundraiser in which around 1,000 pigeons were hunted. Like many animal-rights groups, SHARK hoped to raise awareness of what it terms animal cruelty during the pigeon hunts, in which live pigeons are thrown into the air where they are often killed immediately by hunters wielding shotguns.
Inhofe chief of staff Ryan Jackson dismissed the group’s allegations and refused to confirm that the shooting happened.
“They are of their own admission anti-hunting and anti-rodeo, and they are an out of state, fringe organization that claims and alleges all kinds of things, none of which have resulted in anything or will,” Jackson told the Tulsa World. “They left with their drone so I can’t confirm any of their claims on that either.”
In a press release, SHARK president Steve Hindi disagreed:
“Inhofe tried to hide the shoot’s location, but we found it he or someone in is party shot out drone out of the sky. We set up legally on the side of a public road and then sent up our drone, called the ‘Angel,’ to film the shoot. We flew two successful flights and landings where we filmed the birds being hand-thrown into the air and then shot. When we went up a third time, someone at the Inhofe fundraiser took a high-powered rifle and shot the [drone]. There was significant damage.”
Ironically, Inhofe is a member of the Senate Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Caucus, a group of legislators whose stated goal is to “educate lawmakers about the value of [drone] systems and help create policy related to UAV development and deployment.”
At the state level, the Sooner State may see drones shot from the skies sooner rather than later if a proposed bill gets the legislative nod. SB 492, provides “civil immunity for damage or destruction of a drone on personal property.” Sponsor Sen. Ralph Shortey told the Associated Press that “he’s received reports of people shooting down drones [and that] landowners have no way of knowing the intention of a drone’s owner, and shouldn’t be held liable for shooting one down.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
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