A young man who pleaded guilty to a felony count of animal cruelty in the slaughter of nearly 50 protected seabirds at Long Beach WA has been sentenced to 45 days in jail. Last June, 21-year-old Charles Belgard of Longview drove a Jeep at about 70 miles per hour on the ocean beach, plowing through several flocks of birds.
The casualties were mostly Heermann's gulls and Caspian terns, which are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Federal law provides for punishment as a misdemeanor. But the district attorney in Pacific County charged Belgard under Washington state law. Belgard has also been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.