BLAIR, Okla. - An annual fundraiser has some people outraged about the event.
On Friday, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe held an annual pigeon shoot fundraiser where volunteers throw pigeons from a cage into the air to be shot by people attending the fundraiser.
“There's hunting with a hunting code, hunting ethics, where you hunt an animal, use the animal, you eat the animal. Those hunters have respect for the animal in their own way,” Steve Hindi, with SHARK, told NewsChannel 4.
Animal activists are angry, saying the pigeons were simply shot for sport and left to die.
“It's not part of hunting, they're not going to be eaten and it`s neglect to have these live wounded pigeons suffering without food water, medical attention or shelter,” Hindi said.
Hundreds of pigeons were shot during the fundraiser, and some died while others were left to suffer where they fell.
"It's just sad that somebody is using live animals to kill for fun, to maim for fun as a fundraiser,” Rondi Large, of the WildCare Foundation, said. “ It's appalling."
Advocates managed to load up about 28 birds and bring them to Wildcare, a place that takes in wild animals, cares for them and then releases them back into the wild.
"If you were shot three days earlier, of course you'd be suffering,” Large said. “They were dehydrated. Infection has been setting in on some of these guys because they have open wounds. Gunshot wounds for three days out there without any sort of care. That's totally inhumane."
Six of the pigeons didn't make it.
"See how it's all fractured in here, and that's from being shot,” Large said. "The feather that's hanging down has been broken."
It is the case with most of the pigeons that showed up at WildCare late Sunday night.
"You can see this area here of his wing is very swollen and very bloody and red, and this was shot on Friday,” Large said.
It is not against the law, but some believe it is against what's right.
"They are not a bird that is covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,” Large said. “So, unfortunately, it's not against the law from the treaty act to do what was done to these birds, but it's obviously animal cruelty."
Senator Inhofe’s office released this statement in response:
“KFOR would like to talk about this pigeon shoot while Senator Inhofe is working to pass in the Senate this week a bill that will solidify the historic settlement on water rights in central and southeastern Oklahoma to the benefit of the State, Oklahoma City, and Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, which will ensure drinking water supplies and recreation for Oklahomans well into the future with recognizing cultural claims on Oklahoma's lakes among other regulatory reforms benefiting Oklahoma and the country.”
While KFOR was waiting for a response from Inhofe's office, a member of the Inhofe team took to Twitter to downplay the controversy.