Note to NASCAR Fans: Don't Shoot the Bird

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IAugust 28, 2009

In Morris County, New Jersey, 67-year-old NASCAR fan Dennis Zeglin was charged with several counts of animal cruelty after shooting his African grey parrot dead with a BB gun. 

It seems that "Mikey," the parrot, was chattering away during a NASCAR race that Zeglin was trying to watch on television.

Peggy Wright, a staff writer for Morris County's newspaper, The Daily Record, reported that apparently Zeglin had been enjoying a few of his favorite adult beverages during the June 7 running of the Pocono 500, the first of two events at Pocono Raceway. 

Zeglin was in his chair in the living room attempting to watch the race when his parrot began squawking and making a ruckus.

Instead of quieting the bird or just turning up the volume on the television, Zeglin instead reached for his Daisy Powerline Model 93, a CO2-powered BB gun. He fired off three shots, killing the bird.

Zeglin's wife called the police and stated she was upstairs when she heard the shots. She raced downstairs to find her husband in his chair continuing to watch the race and the bird dead in his cage.

Mrs. Zeglin called her husband a "crazy S.O.B." but told the police that he was basically harmless and that no other altercation had occurred in the house.

Zeglin's son also heard the shots and came running. He covered the dead bird's cage with a sheet and took him outside, where he was planning to bury it.

Mikey the parrot was instead autopsied by a local veterinarian. His owner was then charged with several counts of animal cruelty.

Since the filing of the charges, Zeglin has gone into counseling for his drinking problem. His attorney has also applied for Morris County's Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which offers probation for first time offenders.

Zeglin is due back in court on Sept. 9. 

Until that time, the local police have advised him that the next time another family pet, like his Labrador Retriever, or a family member bothers him during a NASCAR race, he should call animal control or the police instead of reaching again for his BB gun.


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