Pennsylvania Supreme Court Turns Back Challenge to Pigeon Shoot

On January 2, 2004, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a one-sentence ruling denying efforts by a Pennsylvania human officer who had sought a preliminary injunction against a planned pigeon shoot at the Pike Township Sportsmen’s Association.

Humane officer Johnna Seeton argued in court that the pigeon shoots violated Pennsylvania animal cruelty laws, but the Superior Court of Berks County had previously ruled that the pigeon shoots did not violate the animal cruelty statute. Seeton is the chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Animal Network, which over the years has worked for a wide range of animal rights causes and projects.

Animal rights activists succeed in shutting down the large Hegins pigeon shoot in 1999, but a number of smaller pigeon shoots continue in Pennsylvania.

The Fund for Animals, which crusaded for years against the Hegins shoot, issued a press release following the Supreme Court decisions saying,

The Fund argues that pigeon shoots violate Pennsylvania’s anti-cruelty statute because thousands of birds are intentionally injured and left to suffer with their wounds, sometimes for days, without any medical treatment. “We are able to stop this barbaric and inhumane practice in Hegins and it should be stopped throughout Pennsylvania,” said [Fund President Heidi] Prescott. “Unfortunately, although hundreds of violations of Pennsylvania’s cruelty statute take place at these live pigeon shoots throughout the year, several pigeon shoot cases have been languishing in the courts for over a decade. If the courts are not going to take action to stop this cruel and illegal practice, the legislature must step up and bring the Commonwealth in line with the vast majority of states that already [sic] bans such barbaric practices.”


Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal to Stop Cruel and Inhumane Pigeon Shoots. Press Release, Fund for Animals, January 8, 2004.

Appeal To Halt Cruel Pigeon Shoots Rejected. Animal News Center, January 17, 2004.