Breathitt man pleads guilty to illegal sale of red-tailed hawks

A Breathitt County man pleaded guilty Monday to the unlawful sale of a federally protected bird species, according to Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Danny Gayheart, 32, of Noctor admitted in federal court that he sold three red-tailed hawks for $50 each in March to an undercover agent in Winchester.

Gayheart said he used a steel trap to capture the birds. One had an injured foot; another suffered a broken leg and had to be euthanized, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Gayheart agreed to pay $1,655.50 in restitution, the cost of rehabilitating and releasing back into the wild the two surviving birds.

Gayheart is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 13. He could receive up to two years in prison.