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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Farmer Sentenced For Poisoning Bald Eagles

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Kirk Canfield, 54, of Wilson, NY, who was convicted of a violation of violation of the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Act, was sentenced to six months probation and a $1,000 criminal fine by U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott. The defendant was also ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bald Eagle Program.

  Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, stated that the defendant operated a produce farm in the Town of Wilson. In August 2014, Canfield placed a meat pile that had been mixed with Golden Malrin fly bait at the edge of a cornfield on his farm in an attempt to kill coyotes. The fly bait contained Methomyl, which is an insecticide that is not to be used in a manner in which animals can eat it.
  Three juvenile bald eagles died after eating the contaminated meat pile, and on August 22, 2014, the three dead bald eagles were found and photographed in the immediate vicinity of the contaminated meat pile by an individual riding an ATV.  Subsequently, Canfield removed the three dead bald eagles from the field and removed the contaminated meat pile. By placing the contaminated meat pile on his field, the defendant acted with wanton disregard for the consequences of his act.
  As part of the sentence in this case, Canfield has been ordered to pay restitution to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS-DEC), Bald Eagle Program. The program is responsible for returning bald eagles to New York State and establishing a successful agenda to restore and protect New York State’s bald eagles.  In the early 1900’s, New York State was home to more than 70 nesting pairs of bald eagles, and was a wintering ground for several hundred more. However, by 1960, New York State had only one known active bald eagle nest remaining. Beginning in 1976, and continuing until 1988, the NYS-DEC Bald Eagle Program collected 198 nestling bald eagles from other parts of the United States, brought them to New York State, and then hand-reared them to independence. Today, there are more than 170 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the state.
 The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Honora Gordon and Environmental Conservation Officers with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, under the direction of Captain Frank Lauricella.

Updated October 29, 2015