The article wasn't clear but maybe y'all shouldn't be so quick to jump on the horse owner. Stuff does happen. I once had a colt break its hock. I called the vet to come put him down and the backhoe guy to come bury him. Vet came and took care of colt but the backhoe guy had a mechanical problem and couldn't come until the next day. I put a tarp over the carcass and kept my dogs shut up until the horse was buried.
The problem might be that the renderer couldn't pick up the bodies soon enough. The last 2 times I had a horse put down, it was a week before the renderer got here. Because of water concerns they may not be allowed to bury or even compost.
Originally Posted by Sannois
Oh yeah, there is the responsible horse owner. Why the hell were they not picked up.
I hope the heck they do fine the hell out of that owner.
Praying for the rest of the magnificent birds!
Cannot help but wonder if a Vet put the horses down. But most vets I think assume the horse owner will bury the animals or have them hauled away.
Completely understand that crap happens and a renderer, backhoe, whatever might not have been able to get there in a timely fashion.
That, however, does not absolve the owner from being proactive on keeping a thousand pounds of poison contained in some sort of way.
You tarp it to keep the birds off. And if necessary, you go to the hardware store and pick up rolls of hard mesh and stake it down to try to keep other predators off. Tow rope from tractor or car and drag it into the garage if you have to. If it's going to be days...you do that. Don't care if it costs money. Don't care if it's a lot of labor.
Because in the end, it's the *owners* responsibility to do all they can to prevent a half ton or more of poison from destroying everything that comes in contact with it. Leaving a chemical filled carcass outside/open is like tossing out steaks soaked in antifreeze. As sad as it is to lose the animal you loved...it's no longer that animal you loved and you can be sad all you need to be but you take care of that carcass asap.
If you absolutely positively cannot properly dispose of 1000 lbs of poison, you don't chemically euthanize the animal. We can't have every choice we want without taking any responsibility for the outcome of that choice.
It's not an option to leave it out because of any reason.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
This thread is another strong point in favor of euthanization of large animals via correctly placed gunshot. Probably the strongest point that can be made. \
This was what I was thinking. That or bring back humane killers (essentially hand-held bolt guns.) No worries about toxic carcasses if you don't use poison.
The "wanted the turkey" story is a little exaggerated. Franklin made a comment about it in a letter but it was never seriously considered. For starters, they're kind of silly-looking, but eagles have been a symbol of power since at least the Romans, and as the US had a choice of bald eagle or golden, they went with the one that was native to North America (golden eagles live pretty much everywhere.) ANY raptor, practically, is an opportunistic feeder. Heck, small songbirds will pick at carcasses for the fat.
The owner will not be eligible for federal prosecution by USFWS unless they knowingly harmed the birds. If you harm protected species by accident and you report it, you will not get in trouble. However, since it sounds like the neighbour reported it, the owner may get a hand slap, although I rather doubt it as it can take some doing to get that particular agency to bring forward meaningful charges, especially in small scale case like this.
You're right that there is no way that the owner would get hit with the highest penalty (okay, never say never), but the owner would potentially be subject to federal prosecution if they harmed a bald eagle, even unknowingly.
The bald eagle is listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Anyone who harms a species listed under MBTA, even unknowingly, is potentially subject to criminal penalties. Anyone who harms a species listed under the Eagle Act, even unknowingly, is potentially subject to civil penalties (anyone who knowingly causes harm to listed species are subject to criminal penalties).
It is more common for farm owners to be charged with violations when they accidentally poison birds while misusing pesticides, rodenticides, or when attempting to poison predators, but some people have been prosecuted after they've improperly disposed of euthanized animals and caused bird injuries/deaths.
In the last three years I have unfortunetly had to put down three horses..... all by chemical means by a vet. In two of the cases the backhoe came late the next day. The third case the ground was frozen so we had wait several days. We made sure to wrap the bodies securely so animals could not scavenge them. Not in any cases was I warned about the dangers of the drugs used to euthanize them making other animals sick nor did my vet ever ask me how I was going to dispose of the body. Personally, I feel as an animal owner it is my responsibility to find out this information or ask my vet.
RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
RIP San Lena Peppy
May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010
Since s/he is wielding the needle with the dangerous controlled substance, it IS the vet's responsibility to educate the client about this. My vets WITHOUT FAIL mention to keep dogs, wild birds (we have turkey vultures & hawks of all kinds here) and other scavengers away from the carcass for exactly this reason.
However, there is no way I feel the vet can be held legally responsible if they did discuss this with the client and the client then failed to follow up.
I doubt anyone will be prosecuted much--it's obviously a case of ignorance, they didn't INTEND for it to happen, and ruining everyone's life won't help the eagles.
When I had to put down my mare last year my vet asked how I was going to dispose of the body. We arranged to have the renderer come at the same time so she wasn't laying in the front yard for any length of time. While I am not a fan of bald eagles, it is a real shame that they were poisoned because of someones negligence and I hope they pull through.
The news story was totally incomplete: the vet could have railed on the owner about the importance of keeping the bodies away from critters or could have put the horses down and left. If I were a vet, it would merit an honorable mention with me to make sure the owners knew about the dangers and if anyone actually read that link, it says the same thing. Not that the vet is responsible for the disposal but that they are responsible to educate the animal's owner. Nobody knows at this point if that happened but honestly I would assume it did.
Who knows what the circumstances are with the owner; the bottom line is that they dropped the ball. Maybe they're elderly, maybe they aren't around, maybe maybe. two horses put down at the same time... who knows. Crap happens but they are ultimately responsible.
We've never used chemical euthanasia, always a bullet and always with a backhoe waiting. We always made sure everything was gone by the time the kids came home from school. At the ranch we lived on we had a Dead Pile and that's where everything went that died of harmless causes until the Great Pyrenees hauled it back to the ranch houses in kit form. Never knew when you were going to find So and So's well aged head sitting in the front yard-ugh.
I hope the Eagles survive and that the exact source of the cause is determined. As of now the article states they "believe" the euthanized horses was the source. Does anyone know how the pentobarbital is absorbed when dosed for euthanasia in a horse? What I wonder is because the drug stops the heart fairly quickly, is it pumped through the entire body in that time frame? Or would the eagles have to have eaten certain organs to get a lethal dose? Does that make sense? Since eagles don't bother horses laying down in pastures my next guess is that the horses had been euthanzied for some period of time, and is it correct that the drug remains deadly in dead tissue for all time?
As a side note I guess pentobarbital sodium doesn't work on foxes. Last summer I took an old Siamese kitty of mine into the vet to have her euthanized, brought her home, buried her the same way we have been burying the pets on our place for 19 years. Shortly after that I found that her grave had been disturbed. I looked around found her body 25' away, on the ground, gutted. My husband reburied her using more lime. Two days later the grave was dug up again. We set up game cam and found the grave robber. Notice the date stamp- he didn't die from eating a kitty tainted with euthanasia drugs, he kept coming around for more....until he probably died from his mange infested condition.
The gam cam photos are only of the fox not of him taking my kitty. We put the game cam out to see who came back digging up my sweet kitty. The fox looks really bad in the photos but this was during the height of the drought last year when everything was in short supply. So a buried, chemical filled old cat was considered a "meal". Desperate times.
I volunteer in a Raptor Center and we've seen eagles come in with lead poisoning from eating carcasses shot with lead-ridden bullets.
Yes, eagles are opportunistic and yes, they are very prone to be sick from the toxicity of chemicals, especially the younger birds.
The wildlife center in this area also has treated many raptors for lead poisoning from eating carrion containing hunters' bullets. Not an anti-hunting comment, but just to point out that a bullet is not necessarily non-toxic in the environment either.
That is a big no-no with a chemically euthanized animal of any kind and I don't know anyone today that doesn't know that.
This happened only a little ways away from me, so I've been hearing all about this for the past few days, and honestly, was a little shocked that it was such a big story.
Some of us DON'T know that it's a "big no-no" to leave carcasses out that have been euthed by vets. Would I ever? Well, no, I wouldn't. I'd want any animal to have a proper disposal, whether it be burial or taken by the rendering people. HOWEVER, I wasn't aware that the drug used to euth animals was poisonous should it be ingested by other animals.
I'm sure the horse owner wasn't aware, either, and just didn't have the proper means/funds to finish the job.
I am confused why people need to be told that the lethal drug that just killed their very large animal will be lethal to other things that might chew on your now dead horse if you leave the body accessible.
Isn't it pretty obvious that the pink/purple/blue stuff if toxic after it downed an animal that weighs 1000lbs?
Originally Posted by NMK
There was a deer down by our pond (careless hunter) and the eagles were there for days. Our neighbor is a wildlife ranger and he advised us to let it be as he could not find a bullet anywhere near the carcass (he scanned it).
Deer do die from things other than hunters. If no bullet was found why assume the death was caused by a 'careless hunter'?