The experienced pigeon breeder was accused of having prepared a pigeon with poison in March 2016 with the sole purpose of killing a bird of prey. However, before the pigeon could fall prey to a predator, a cantonal policeman from the department for animal welfare and environmental protection became aware of the pigeon and managed to lock it temporarily in the outside enclosure of the pigeon loft.
An examination of the pigeon revealed that the neck area had been treated with Carbofuran – a highly toxic pesticide and nerve poison – and was also marked with spray paint. The bird died during the effort to remove the poison. The accused was taken into custody.
In March 2017, the District Court of Bulach (court of first instance) sentenced the accused to a conditional fine of 300 daily units of 30 Swiss francs each, which is equivalent to a prison sentence of ten months or a fine of 1500 Swiss francs, for multiple counts of deliberate animal cruelty, multiple offenses against the Federal Law on Hunting and Protection of wild mammals and Birds, and for violation of the legislation on chemical and environmental protection. Both the accused and the public prosecutor's office appealed against the ruling.
The defendant insisted that he was innocent and that the pigeon in question was not his animal but failed to convince the authorities. The prosecution produced sufficient evidence supporting the accusations made against the perpetrator. The court left no room for doubt that the defendant was guilty and found that his behavior was based solely on selfish motives, his actions being "highly disrespectful, self-glorifying and presumptuous", given the fact that he was aiming to kill a bird of prey, which is a protected bird species in Switzerland, only so he could practice his hobby. The court even went as far as to state that the defendant had knowingly risked the "extermination of a species", of which only a few specimens are still left in the canton of Zurich.