Schanze Pleads Guilty As Charged In Misdemeanor Information; Convicted Of Using Aircraft To Harass Wildlife And Pursuing A Migratory Bird
SALT LAKE CITY – Dell Schanze, age 45, of American Fork, Utah, pled guilty to using an aircraft to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City Friday afternoon. There was no plea agreement, and federal prosecutors made no concessions to Schanze as a part of his guilty plea to both counts of the Misdemeanor Information.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson took the plea and imposed a sentence of one year of court probation. Schanze will forfeit an orange parasail as a substitute asset for the paraglider involved in the illegal conduct. Judge Benson also ordered him not to land a paraglider in a federally-designated Wilderness Area or in any area closed to motorized access by a federal agency.
“The protection of Utah’s wildlife should be important to all of us. Mr. Schanze used his motorized paraglider to harass an owl to the point of exhaustion and then kicked it. His actions showed utter disregard for this protected bird,” U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen said Friday afternoon.
Schanze was charged in a Misdemeanor Information filed in late October following an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Count one of the Information alleged that Schanze violated the Airborne Hunting Act by using a motorized paraglider to harass the owl during an incident in February or March of 2011. Count two of the charging document alleged Schanze used a motorized paraglider to harass the barn owl, a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The Rocky Mountain Information Network assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office.