SODDY DAISY, TN (WRCB) - The shooting of two bald eagles have struck a patriotic nerve in the Tennessee Valley. Wildlife officers found one of the eagles in Hamilton County. The other was discovered in Monroe County. Both survived and are recovering, before being released into the wild.
An $11,000 dollar reward in each case is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooter or shooters responsible.
The first, a fully grown bald eagle, was shot down along the Tennessee River in Soddy Daisy the last week of March.
"They have a big white head and white tail, so it'd be hard to have one be a mistaken identity," TWRA Officer Joe McSMcSpadden said.
A family found it lying next to their dock with a gunshot wound to the wing.
"It probably had been shot while it was flying in the air and just made it as far as it could," Officer McSpadden said.
The second, younger eagle was shot in Monroe County the first week of May near Tellico River. The shootings violate the Gold and Bald Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
"I have a young one, and I want those birds to be around for many generations to come," Olivia Marks said.
To many, bald eagles are more than just birds.
"The bald eagle is our national symbol," Officer McSpadden said.
"Why would you shoot something that represents freedom and everything that means the most to us? It just breaks my heart," Melissa Alexander said.
"That's a traumatic experience for all of America," Barbara Hohol said.
"We intend to punish someone to the fullest extent of the law, if we can catch who shot the eagle," Officer McSpadden said.
That means up to a $100,000 fine and/or one year in prison.
"I think maybe you should make them work with animals to make them appreciate animals," Deana Murray said.
Officer McSpadden tells me TWRA has yet to receive any tips.
If you have information that may help them, and possibly get that reward, call U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Bo Stone at (865)692-4024, or the TWRA at (800)262-6704.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:32 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:32:33 GMT
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