ORLANDO, Fla. — An animal rights group wants the PGA Tour to take action against player Tripp Isenhour, facing charges for hitting a hawk with a golf shot because it was making noise as he videotaped a TV show.
“Because of the high profile nature of this case, the PGA needs to take steps to address its interest and to make it clear that they don’t condone animal cruelty,” said Dale Bartlett, the Humane Society of the United States’ deputy manager for animal cruelty issues.
He said the organization would contact the PGA Tour today to discuss the issue.
Isenhour was charged Wednesday with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird, misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of 14 months in jail and $1,500 in fines.
Isenhour, playing the Nationwide Tour this season after losing his PGA Tour card last year, apologized in a statement released Thursday and said he was only trying to scare the hawk away.
The 39-year-old player, whose real name is John Henry Isenhour III, became angry while filming “Shoot Like A Pro” on Dec. 12 at the Grand Cypress Golf Club — his home course — when a squawking red-shouldered hawk forced another take.
He got in his golf cart and drove closer to the bird, then 300 yards away, and starting hitting balls at it. The bird didn’t move and Isenhour gave up and drove away.
Isenhour started again when the hawk moved within about 75 yards, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Brian Baine indicated in a report.
Isenhour allegedly said, “I’ll get him now,” and aimed for the hawk.
“About the sixth ball came very near the bird’s head, and (Isenhour) was very excited that it was so close,” Baine wrote.
A few shots later, witnesses said he hit the hawk. The bird, protected as a migratory species, fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils.
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