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Print

Brothers fined for poisoning wildlife

November 28, 2007 at 05:42 PM

Two brothers have been fined a total of $90,000 for poisoning protected birds by injecting a pesticide into animal carcasses on their farm in Champaign County.

Norman Wachstetter, 46, and Michael Wachstetter, 48, of Foosland admitted poisoning four turkey vultures, four red-tailed hawks and two American crows when they injected Furadan 4F, a restricted use pesticide, into animal carcasses that were placed on their property in 2004 and 2005.

The birds fed on or came into contact with the dead animals and were poisoned as a result.

All birds, except European starlings, English house sparrows and pigeons, are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Certain other exceptions are made by permit.

In a plea agreement, the two men agreed to a term of one-year probation with the special condition that each will pay $15,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and each will pay an additional fine of $30,000.

Foosland residents contacted an Illinois Department of Natural Resources conservation police officer about an unusual number of dead animals including hawks, foxes, skunks, coyotes and crows starting in 2004.

Additional searches by state and federal authorities turned up more dead animals on or near property owned by the Wachstetter family.

In 2005, more dead animals began to show up, including raccoons, deer, coyotes and hawks. Aerial flights turned up more dead coyotes.

Animal carcasses were sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon. Tests determined the animals died from Furadan poisoning. Furadan is an organophosphate insecticide that is a restricted use pesticide.

A federal search warrant was executed on Oct. 6, 2005, and agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and DNR law enforcement found Furadan, syringes and bait samples.

During an interview, Mike Wachstetter admitted he used Furadan to kill wildlife.

“They had frozen bait carcasses in the freezer for the next time, ”  said Tim Santel, resident agent in charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based in Springfield.
“Every time you think you’ve seen it all, along come two brothers who are poisoning wildlife,”  he said. ” The indiscriminate killing is the worst part.”

Santel said turkey vultures killed had high levels of Furadan on their feet, meaning the chemical was absorbed through their feet when they tore into a rabbit carcass injected with the pesticide.

He said investigators must be aware of the danger posed by pesticides that can be absorbed through the skin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hoff prosecuted the case, and U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bernthal sentenced the pair Nov. 20.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was published Nov. 28, 2007 in The State Journal-Register

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Did they give some kind of motive?
What in the world did they think that they were accomplishing by doing this?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/29 at 09:38 PM

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