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A Seagull Stole His Burger. His Reaction Got Him a $124 Fine

Nate Rancloes says his aim wasn't to injure the bird—he just wanted to shoo it away
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 7, 2018 7:30 AM CDT
Even New Hampshire Fish and Game officials concede Nate Rancloes didn't mean to hurt the seagull (not pictured here).   (Getty Images/Nuture)

(Newser) – A man accused of kicking a seagull that tried to eat his cheeseburger at a New Hampshire beach has been fined $124. Police investigated the report from a bystander at Hampton Beach earlier this summer, the AP reports. Per NH1, Nate Rancloes says he'd just returned from getting a cheeseburger and fries and was sitting on the sand when seagulls got to the burger. He says he spun around with his leg to shoo one away but struck the bird; he says it was a simple mistake and "a one in a million bad luck kick." A witness backed up his story that the kick was accidental. "There was no culpable mental state that occurred," New Hampshire Fish and Game Lt. Mike Eastman said. "He didn't stomp on it. He hit the ... bird with his foot."

But because seagulls are protected under federal law, the agency still hit Rancloes with the fine. Meanwhile, Rancloes, a Purple Heart recipient, tells NH1 he had to leave the beach with his 11-year-old daughter because people were yelling at him. He also notes a fellow beachgoer who posted about the incident on Facebook hadn't even witnessed what happened. "There is an atrocious story on social media that I intentionally hurt the seagull," he says. "It is illegal and immoral to injure a seagull. If I intentionally hurt the seagull in front of hundreds of witnesses, I would perhaps be the dumbest criminal ever."

(Read more New Hampshire stories.)

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