Lawsuit seeks to end Philly Gun Club pigeon-shoot

Posted: June 18, 2010

It's been a while since Steve Hindi plucked a wounded pigeon from rocks along the Delaware River outside the Philadelphia Gun Club in Bensalem.

Hindi, an animal activist who is best known for receiving a $1 million donation for his anti-cruelty group SHARK from former game-show host Bob Barker, nursed the bird back to health.

Now he is seeking "justice" for the bird, which he has named "Roberta" and which was injured in a pigeon shoot at the gun club on Feb. 20.

Yesterday Johnna Seeton, a humane society police officer from the Pennsylvania Legislative Animal Network, a state-sanctioned animal-welfare group, filed a criminal complaint against the gun club in district court on behalf of Roberta.

Seeton said the complaint hadn't been filed earlier because of the number of other pigeon-shoot cases she is working.

Seeton acknowledged that district attorneys and judges in other parts of Pennsylvania have rejected similar criminal complaints of animal cruelty that she has filed about pigeon-shoots. She says she'll keep trying.

"To our knowledge, Pennsylvania is the only state where pigeon-shoots are openly held," she said.

Sean Corr, attorney for the gun club, dismissed Seeton's complaint, saying that the state Supreme Court ruled as long ago as the 1890s that pigeon-shoots are legal. "This is an issue for the Legislature," he said.

Bills to ban pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania are pending in both the House and Senate.

Hindi, who runs SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness), said the complaint was filed of behalf of only one bird among the hundreds shot during the February shoot because "Roberta" was actual living proof that members of the gun club had committed acts of animal cruelty.

Hindi, who was on a boat in the Delaware near the gun club when he rescued "Roberta" from icy rocks along the shore, said she had been shot in the wing and her leg was broken.

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