New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a stiff penalty for the unforgivable crime of finding and pocketing an eagle’s feather while he was on a family trip as a child.
The governor has two options, Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said in a statement: either put the feather back where he found it or donate the part to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife repository. However, it is unclear if there is a statute of limitation on the law.
Cuomo violated the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, a 1940s-era law that carries a $100,000 fine or a year in prison for the first offense. Cuomo began the story innocently enough. (RELATED: Obama Allows 4,200 Bald Eagles To Die For Green Energy)
“And one of the highlight moments was on Saranac Lake when we were in a canoe and we were taking a canoe trip and out of nowhere, from one of the islands, an eagle came out and, like, swooped down right next to us with this beautiful, graceful glide,” he said at the event earlier in August, according to a report Monday from The Associated Press.
“And when the eagle was just about at front of the canoe,” he said, “one feather fell out. And we picked up that feather, and I have it on my fireplace to this day.” Cuomo’s story was meant to hype an economic development grant for the village of Saranac Lake.
Bald eagles are not an endangered species, but are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These laws prohibit killing, selling or otherwise harming them without a permit.
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