Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn pleads guilty to animal cruelty

Meet Jeff Hawn, the CEO of Attachmate and notorious buffalo hunter.  In a bizarre story covered by John Cook’s Venture Blog on TechFlash, Hawn pleaded guilty today in Colorado courtroom to charges of animal cruelty after having engineered the slaughter of 32 bisons, including cows carrying unborn calves.

The story goes like this:  Jeff Hawn wasn’t too pleased about neighboring South Park rancher Monte Downare’s bisons coming onto his property and causing some damage to his fences and trees.  Through his lawyer, Stephen Csajaghy, Hawn sent letters to Downare warning to keep the bisons off his property.  This was during the very harsh winter of 2007 in Colorado, which made fixing broken fences difficult.

Eventually, Hawn took matters into his own hands and engineered the hunting of the bisons, most of which were killed outside his property.  Only three of the 32 bisons were actually killed on Hawn’s ranch.  The Downares first didn’t know who were killing their bisons and feared that they themselves might be in danger.

A man who heads up a large software company should have shown better judgement.  Taking matters into one’s own hands shows recklessness and very little emapthy for others.  This reckless behavior, which gives the appearance that such powerful men think they are “above the law”, is yet another black eye to the corporate leaders during these difficult economic times.

In his plead, Hawn has agreed to pay $157,369 in restitution and fines.  He received a deferred sentence and will be on two-year probation.  But his biggest punishment could be the public relations nightmare that he has brought onto himself.

Denver Post’s complete story.