Two Farmers Convicted and Sentenced for Causing the Deaths of Three Bald Eagles and a Great Horned Owl
Salisbury, Maryland - Ernest J. Long, age 70, of Camden-Wyoming, Delaware and Angel Gomez, age 36, of Goldsboro, Maryland pleaded guilty today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act by causing the deaths of three bald eagles and one great horned owl, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor H. Laws, III sentenced Long and Gomez each to one year of probation, and ordered them to pay fines and restitution of $8,000 and $3,000, respectively.
United States Attorney Rod Rosenstein said, “Furadan is a poisonous insecticide intended to be used sparingly to kill bugs. The defendants used it instead to kill wildlife, and they succeeded in killing a number of animals, including three bald eagles and a great horned owl.”
According to their guilty pleas, Long owns and operates a farm at his residence. Gomez operates a poultry farm at her residence located approximately 10 miles from Long’s farm, raising chickens and exotic birds. In November 2006, Gomez discovered that her chickens were being killed by local wildlife. She discussed the problem with Long, who gave her Furadan, an agricultural pesticide. Long instructed Gomez on how to place the pesticide on a chicken carcass, which the wildlife would eat and die soon thereafter. He advised Gomez to not touch the dead animals, and that the poison could cause a chain reaction of animals dying.
Furadan may be applied only by or under the direct supervision of trained and certified applicators, and only in compliance with the labeling. Granular Furadan is permitted only in limited circumstances as an underground soil treatment; it is not licensed for controlling predators.
In December 2006 Gomez baited two chicken carcasses with the poison and placed one on the ground for the foxes and the other on top the chicken coup for hawks and owls. As a result, three bald eagles and a great horned owl were found dead from Furadan in a Delaware field adjacent to Gomez’s farm. In addition, a dead fox and an injured bald eagle were also found in the same area. The animals had ingested the pesticide directly from the chicken carcasses, or by feeding on previously poisoned animals.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control - Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section and the Maryland Natural Resources Police for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Paul E. Budlow and Christopher Romano, who prosecuted the case.
For downloadable photographs of the dead eagles and video of the eagle that recovered and was released back into the wild, please access the website of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, www.FWS.gov/northeast.