Geyer told The (Chambersburg) Public Opinion that she rescued three baby robins from her Hamilton Township yard on May 27 and spent three days feeding them smashed-up worm meat.
But then, concerned that she didn’t have the resources and expertise to take care of them, she called the Pennsylvania Game Commission. She said a wildlife conservation officer, took the birds away, explaining that it was illegal for her to keep them without a special license.
Geyer says he later told her that an animal rehabilitation specialist in Waynesboro wasn’t home, so he ended up killing the animals by shooting them.
“I wish I had never called them,” Geyer said. “It feels like I sent those poor little birds off to be executed.”
Commission spokesman Richard Danley said robins are migratory birds protected under federal law, so only licensed animal rehabilitation specialists are allowed to possess and care for them.
“You can generally find a rehabber by calling us,” Danley said. “Sometimes veterinarians will know where they are as well.”
Danley said the officer is now on leave for military training, so any investigation could not begin until he returns. But he said a gunshot is “a perfectly legitimate way to dispatch an animal” under commission policies, although it is most commonly used with deer rather than very small animals.
“As far as I can tell on its face, it doesn’t appear that the officer has done anything out of procedure or outside our standards of practice,” Danley said. “Every situation in and of itself is unique, and I can’t say that’s the way every officer would handle this situation.”
Information from: Public Opinion