Utah resident Dell "Super Dell" Schanze is facing two federal misdemeanor charges for allegedly chasing a barn owl with his paraglider - and proceeding to kick the animal.
A video of Schanze's paragliding experience, which has since been removed from YouTube, surfaced in April of 2013. The video allegedly depicted Schanze using a motorized paraglider to pursue a flying owl. At one point, Schanze appears to make contact with the bird, and proceeds to gleefully shout "I kicked an owl butt! ... Dude, was that wicked? I just kicked that owl in the backside!" The clip immediately ruffled the feathers of the paragliding community, who alerted authorities to Schanze's behavior.
"Speechless. Never seen anything like that before in my life," Carl Arky, spokesman for the Humane Society of Utah, tells KSL after watching the video. "The Humane Society, and everybody who supports us, condemns this."
Jeff Goin, President of the US Powered Paragliding Association, shared a similar sentiment, telling KSL that "It's animal cruelty ... It just feels bad and gives the sport a bad name."
The United States Attorney's office in Utah charged Schanze on October 28 with violating the Airborne Hunting Act by "knowingly using an aircraft to harass wildlife," as well as violating the Migratory Bird Treaty act by "pursuing a migratory bird."
Schanze could potentially face up to a year-and-a-half of jail time, as well as a $100,000 fine.
According to KSL, Schanze is well-known in Saratoga Springs for his over-the-top (and occasionally offensive) commercials advertising his old business, Totally Awesome Computers. Schanze also ran for governor of Utah in 2008, losing by a landslide with less than three percent of the vote.
This isn't Schanze's first public run-in with the law. The former local TV pitchman went to jail in 2011 for making an illegal parachute jump off of the Astoria Column landmark in Oregon.
In response to the parachuting incident, Schanze told KSL "You know, I'm no different than a bird. Are they arresting the birds that fly off the tower and land? Is that illegal?"