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|Defense(s): ||Steve Fix|
|Judge(s):|| Susan Richardson| CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Monday, Oct 1, 2007
Defendant/Suspect: Jeffery Foiles
An American sportsman who sells videos of his bird hunts has been fined $14,500 for illegal practices and cruelty to animals during trips to Alberta.
Jeffery Foiles, 54, of Illinois, pleaded guilty last month in provincial court to five counts under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and one Criminal Code violation, cruelty to animals, for a series of videotaped incidents.
In 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service contacted Canadian authorities about Foiles and sent videos he'd made while north of the border.
That started a lengthy investigation, said Brian Petrar, operations manager for Wildlife Canada's enforcement division.
"Because of the commercial aspect, we were very interested from the beginning, because he was making money in relation to activities in Canada," Petrar said outside court.
Foiles was in Canada between 2004 and 2007 to film his popular video series, Fallin' Skies. Clips from the videos, which can be seen on the Internet, show footage of camouflaged hunters shooting birds while a dog retrieves dead waterfowl. The footage is accompanied by music.
The video that brought Foiles to a Canadian courtroom showed different behavior. On video, Foiles admitted he'd exceeded the legal limit for the number of geese he could kill in one day - and manipulated the body of an injured duck while making "quacking sounds."
In an October 2007 incident, Foiles retrieves a wounded duck and holds it up for the camera. He then "wrenches the duck's neck and manipulates the head so the bird is looking at him. He says, 'Look at me when I'm talking to you,' " according to an agreed statement of facts.
He then slaps the bird's head and opens its mouth to make "quacking" sounds before moving off camera to kill the animal.
In a different incident, Foiles again manipulated the body of a wounded duck and "played for the camera" while making commentary.
The incidents happened in different locations within 60 kilometers of Edmonton, Petrar said.
Provincial court Judge Susan Richardson also banned Foiles from hunting in Alberta for three years. She told court that she took the guilty pleas as signs of remorse from Foiles.
Foiles appeared in court for his conviction, but did not appear on Wednesday. His lawyer presented court with a certified check.
As one of the charges is from the Criminal Code, Foiles "will have a criminal record that may affect his ability to enter this country," Richardson said.
Foiles was limited to shooting 42 geese and shot 52. He was caught shooting 16 ducks, doubling the limit of eight.
The charges wouldn't have been possible had Foiles not videotaped the crime, Petrar said.
Foiles is well known among American waterfowl hunters, but Petrar said it's hard to tell if the convictions will affect his celebrity.
Petrar pointed to greed as the main motive.
"He wasn't afraid to break the rules to make money."