LANCASTER, Pa. — It is unlikely a Leola-area Amish farmer will go to jail for shooting an eagle in November.
Paul A. Zook, 28, of Geist Road, waived a preliminary hearing last week before District Judge Denise Commins on charges of killing an endangered or threatened species, and unlawful taking and possession of protected birds.
Zook will apply for the state’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, said Amber Czerniakowski, a county assistant district attorney.
The ARD program often is used for first-time offenders for nonviolent crimes, such as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Commins set bail at $5,000 unsecured, meaning Zook did not have to put up any money and promised to appear at all court proceedings in the case. He would be responsible for $5,000 if he does not show.
Commins instructed Zook to be fingerprinted and photographed by East Lampeter Township police.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Zook admitted to shooting the immature eagle, thinking it was a hawk preying on his free-range chickens.
He also told the officers that he had previously shot three red-tailed hawks, which also are a protected species, though they are not listed as threatened or endangered.