COUER D'ALENE, Idaho - A northern Idaho woman who was found guilty in connection to the death of a hunter's falcon has been sentenced to community service.

Kootenai County District Court Judge James Stow on Monday ordered 60-year-old Patti MacDonald, of Hauser, to complete 20 hours of community service before the end of the year and pay $500 in court fees, The Coeur d'Alene Press reports. She was found guilty of pursuing a protected bird.

Stow said a letter from the falcon's owner Scott Dinger asking that MacDonald not receive jail time was taken into consideration.

"It's appropriate that there is some punishment," Stow said, adding that it was also important to recognize that MacDonald's actions were, "not something she instigated."

Prosecutors said MacDonald fractured the skull of the 8-year-old falcon named Hornet on Jan. 7 trying to save a mallard. Both birds died that day.

"Any reasonable person should see that's not a situation you interfere with," said prosecutor Art Verharen. MacDonald stopped her car to break up the fight when she saw the falcon wrestling with the mallard.

Verharen had recommended a jail sentence that MacDonald could have served in the Sheriff's Labor Program.

"She showed no empathy to Mr. Dinger when it became clear that she was dealing with someone's pet," Verharen said. "She took a stance without remorse or respect for that. In her mind, it's justified. In her mind, it's OK. And I guess I see that as arrogance."

MacDonald's attorney Michael Palmer asked for a more lenient sentence, saying MacDonald's actions were motivated by good.

"She tried to break up that fight," Palmer said. "While they're saying there's no empathy, it would take a great deal of empathy to attempt to save that duck."

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Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com