By Alex DeMetrick

BROOKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) —Two bald eagles shot dead in Montgomery County and no leads. Reward money may change that.

Alex DeMetrick reports it’s still a long shot.

It’s often a gut-level response when someone deliberately harms a bald eagle.

“It’s truly unconscionable that someone would shoot our national symbol,” said Elise Traub, U.S. Humane Society.

But two eagles were shot near the woods and fields of Montgomery County. The incidents were separated by many miles but only a few days.

The first, “a person out on Christmas Day heard a shot and saw an eagle laying dead in a field,” said Candus Thomson, National Resources Police spokesperson.

The second eagle was found shot and too injured to save.

Three thousand dollars in private money was put up for a reward.

Now the U.S. Humane Society has upped it by another $5,000.

“Hoping that money will bring someone forward with information that will help Natural Resources Police solve this case,” Traub said.

In Maryland, there are 500 pairs of bald eagles, helping pull it off the endangered species list.

“But the birds are still protected under the American Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Act,” Thomson said.

That means the shooter or shooters face a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison if caught and convicted.

But even with reward money, the odds of finding a shooter are not good.

“Poaching cases typically happen in remote areas with no witnesses, and nationwide state wildlife agencies report as few as 1-5 percent of poached animals ever come to their attention,” Traub said.

But attention is something bald eagles routinely draw in life and now in death — coupled with reward money — it might also draw attention to a suspect.

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