A Winlock woman has been fined $1,500 for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act after inadvertently poisoning seven bald eagles that fed on two euthanized horse caracasses left on her property in March.
Debra Dwelly, who runs a horse rescue farm, said she had intended to bury the two horses but a backhoe had broken down.
Dwelly said she was “mortified” by the development and intended to work with wildlife officials.
Gary Young, special agent in charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Region, said that, considering the circumstances, the case had a positive ending since all seven birds were all able to be released back into the wild.
“We were notified in a timely manner, had the resources and (the eagles) were all saved,” Young said. “Normally, we don’t hear about things until the birds are dead.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed its investigation this fall and sent the findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which set the $1,500 fine.
Poisoning a bald eagle, even inadvertently, is a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with maximum penalties up to one year in prison and $200,000 in fines, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Six of the eagles — five juveniles and one adult — were transported to West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island where they made a full recovery.
The other juvenile bird was taken to the Audubon Society of Portland.