Sowinski Farms Fined $100,000 For Poisoning Eagles, Animals

Feb 13, 2014


A father-and-son who run a large Oneida county potato farm will pay 100-thousand dollars in restitution, for the poisoning deaths of two bald eagles and 70 other wild animals.

65-year-old Alvin Sowinski and his 46-year-old son Paul of Sugar Camp have made a plea deal on federal charges of illegal bald eagle possession. They'll have separate plea hearings on May 8th before Magistrate Stephen Crocker in Madison. U-S Attorney John Vaudreuil said wildlife poisoning cases are extremely rare. He has only prosecuted one-or-two of them in the last 30 years.

Authorities said the Sowinskis allegedly poisoned a host of wildlife with pesticides between 2007-and-2010 -- including at least two eagles, nine coyotes, a bobcat, and almost two dozen dead birds and ravens. There was no evidence that any wolves -- who were federally-protected at the time -- were poisoned. Officials said Alvin Sowinski allegedly used the insecticide Carbofuran to kill wildlife, and both defendants allowed hunters and trappers to kill predators to make deer-and-grouse hunting better for their friends. It all happened on an eight-thousand acre potato operation in which about half was actively being farmed.

An investigation began in 2007 when a D-N-R warden found a dead bald eagle, among other animals. Sheriff's deputies and U-S Fish-and-Wildlife personnel also took part in the probe.