The Texas software executive who allowed 32 bison to be slaughtered on his neighboring ranch in Colorado last year was recently sentenced. Jeffrey Hawn will spend 10 days in jail. He also had to pay restitution of $483,362 to the owner, Downare, of the bison; $70,000 to seven charities and $4,007 to the Park County Sheriff’s Department. Back in November, Hawn plead guilty to one felony count of criminal mischief and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
As you may recall, Hawn gave 14 people permission to conduct a bison hunt on his ranch. When they arrived on March 19th, 16 of the animals were already dead. The 14 shooters have not been charged. Several of the bison were pregnant and about to calve when they were killed and some were shot as many as five or six times.
The caretakers at Hawn’s ranch, John and Roberta Norman, said that Hawn had no choice but to protect his property and the people on it. They also said that they felt they were hostages of the bison. Well, boo hoo! Bison are not domesticated but wild animals with grazing as part of their nature. Mass slaughtering of wild animals is not the answer.
Even the Park County Judge Stephen Groome said that many of the bison has suffered and 10 days in jail for this was a bargain for Hawn. The judge could not give him a longer sentence according to the law.