The animal rights group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness is hoping to shut down a controversial fundraiser for U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe.
The fundraiser in Lone Wolf ruffled feathers last year, too.
The group sent in someone undercover to shoot video of the event, showing live pigeons tossed into the air as people shot and killed them.
The watchdog group wants state leaders to bring an end to what they claim is an illegal shoot that violates Oklahoma’s humane laws.
S.H.A.R.K. filed federal and state complaints last week, documenting what they call Inhofe’s violation of federal ethics, state tax and animal cruelty laws.
They also sent a letter to the Department of Public Safety Commissioner, asking him to send state police to shut down the fundraiser that is planned again for Friday and Saturday.
Stu Chaifetz with S.H.A.R.K. is the one who went undercover last year to shoot the video at Inhofe’s Old World Pigeon Shoot fundraiser.
“These tame pigeons were hand-thrown into the air, shot for fun," Chaifetz said. "They were kicked, tortured - all so Senator Inhofe could raise money from people who enjoy this type of killing."
He said the treatment of the pigeons was inhumane, and they are protected under Oklahoma law, even though officials at the Department of Wildlife said otherwise.
“If there’s not a specific exclusion, they’re protected," Chaifetz said. "Pigeons are protected, and that’s what we’re fighting for."
The animal rights group is also making other allegations against the senator, saying the fundraiser is being held on federal land, employees of the Department of Wildlife worked the event and Inhofe failed to pay taxes on the pigeons used there.
“You or I would get in a lot of trouble if we paid someone $10,000 literally in cash for a product and not paid sale tax," Chaifetz said. "But, here, we have a United States senator doing it."
Inhofe’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, sent us this statement.
This organization tried holding a press conference last year at the state capitol, complaining about our event. I have answered any inquiries from the Federal Election Commission months ago. In fact, upon receiving a copy of the letter to local law enforcement last year, I contacted the district attorney and county sheriffs to invite them to view the event or to answer any questions. Local law enforcement had no questions concerning our event.
This complaint is simply an opportunity to issue a new press release and likely try to raise money for themselves. Last week, they wrote the Senate Ethics Committee. However, the Ethics Committee investigates violations of the Senate's rules, and this organization will also soon learn we have not violated Senate rules either. This week, they are writing state law enforcement making more ridiculous allegations.
S.H.A.R.K. is hoping to find a law enforcement agency that will step in and stop the latest fundraiser.
“Is there someone brave enough and strong enough to stand up to Senator Inhofe and finally look, you know, and say the emperor has no clothes?” Chaifetz said.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said their powers and duties do not encompass the regulation of hunting of the enforcement of animal cruelty laws.
S.H.A.R.K. representatives plan to arrive in town Thursday to get video of this year’s fundraising event.