Philadelphia Gun Club sues animal rights group, claiming stalking and intimidation

     The Philadelphia Gun Club, which has a semiannual pigeon shoot, has been protested by activists, which are now being sued by members of the club for stalking, harassment, intimidation, defamation, trespassing, and privacy invasion. (Nathaniel Hamilton/For NewsWorks)

    The Philadelphia Gun Club, which has a semiannual pigeon shoot, has been protested by activists, which are now being sued by members of the club for stalking, harassment, intimidation, defamation, trespassing, and privacy invasion. (Nathaniel Hamilton/For NewsWorks)

    The Philadelphia Gun Club has filed a lawsuit against an animal-rights organization over alleged harassment, stalking and intimidation.

    The nonprofit Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, aka SHARK, has for many years protested the club’s live pigeon shoots in Bensalem, Bucks County. At semi-annual events, the club members vie to shoot birds that are released into the air.

    Sean Corr, the gun club’s attorney, says SHARK has gone far beyond traditional protest activities. He says the animal-rights activists have posted phony reviews about the sportsmen’s private companies on sites such as Yelp, and surrounded the club with loudspeakers blaring profane messages.

    One of the messages, says Corr, translated into “go fornicate yourself, you rotten … and then a ‘c’ word, which is a vulgar reference to the female anatomy.”

    He says the group blared out that statement “over and over and over again for hours at top volume.”

    “That is not constitutionally-protected speech,” said Corr.

    Steve Hindi, SHARK’s president, rejects the notion that members have harassed anyone. He says they’ve simply exercised their right to free speech.

    “This is legal, nonviolent, peaceful activity,” Hindi said. “If they don’t like the First Amendment, I guess they can go and try and get it knocked out.”

    For many years, animal-rights activists have unsuccessfully lobbied Pennsylvania’s General Assembly to ban pigeon shoots.

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