Man Arrested for Selling Costumes with Feathers of Protected Birds
A man who worked as an announcer for Native American Pow Wow events made a fatal error when he allegedly sold Native American costumes that contained the feathers of protected birds to undercover agents in Las Vegas, NV.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Terry Fiddler appeared before a federal magistrate judge on May 25, after being charged with selling costume ceremonial clothing with the feathers of federally protected birds to special agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is charged with one count of selling a dance bustle (arrangement of feathers worn on the body) in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and with selling a war bonnet in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Lacey Act.
The Native American dance bustle and war bonnet each contained golden eagle, bald eagle, red-tailed hawk and rough-legged hawk feathers.
The first counts against Fiddler are misdemeanors and carry a penalty of up to one year in prison and $100,000 fine. The other count is a felony and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Fiddler was arrested on April 29 in Rapid City, SD and has already made one court appearance. He was released on a personal recognizance bond.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act dates back to 1918 and it protects 800 species of migrating birds. The Act makes it unlawful to hunt, take, capture, kill or sell these birds. It was enacted during a time when the commercial sale of bird feathers was popular.
The Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act protects the birds by “prohibiting the take, possession, sale purchase barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part , nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit.” Although the birds are no longer on the Endangered Species List, they are federally protected.
And The Lacey Act protects wildlife and agriculture from import and export exploitation.
photo credit: thanks to Alaskan Dude via flickr for the beautiful pic of a bald eagle