Second Connecticut man sentenced in connection with killing protected hawks
HARTFORD >> The defendants used to keep live pigeons as bait in a trap near Holly Pond in Stamford.
But once a hawk was caught in the trap, the defendants would use a rifle to kill the nationally protected bird of prey.
This happened at least 12 times, according to documents submitted by federal prosecutors to U.S. District Court, and it led to the arrests of the two Stamford men who were avid pigeon racers and responsible for killing the hawks.
On Tuesday, one of the defendants, Adam Boguski, 44, was sentenced to one year of probation in connection with the scheme. He was ordered by U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny in Hartford to pay a $250 fine and complete 60 hours of community service at a local animal shelter, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Boguski pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to take, capture and kill red-tailed hawks and Cooper’s hawks, and two counts of taking, capturing and killing Cooper’s hawks. His co-defendant, Thomas Kapusta, 63, was sentenced in October to one year of probation. Kapusta pleaded guilty in February 2016 to one count of conspiracy to take, capture and kill red-tailed hawks and Cooper’s hawks, and four counts of taking, capturing and killing red-tailed hawks or Cooper’s hawks.
Kapusta had to pay a $5,500 fine and perform 90 hours of community service at a local animal shelter.
In a sentencing memorandum to the court, federal prosecutors said law enforcement gathered evidence that the two men shot each of the 12 captured red-tailed hawks several times before disposing of the carcasses. The traps they used to capture the hawks had a mesh lining separating the captured hawks from the live pigeons being used as bait. Kapusta reportedly knew that capturing and killing the hawks was illegal, so he instructed Boguski to say that the traps with the live pigeons acting as bait were breeding cages, the U.S. attorney’s office reported.
Red-tailed hawks are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to prosecutors.
Racing pigeons is a very important hobby for Boguski, and he had no idea that killing hawks that were a threat to large flock of racing pigeons was unlawful, according to his lawyer, Alexander Schwartz.
“Logically, he thought he could do what he did and protect the rest of his flock. Obviously, he was wrong,” Schwartz wrote in a memorandum to the court. “Furthermore, if during its investigation the government confronted Boguski and Kapusta and informed them that they were violating the Migratory Bird Act, it is highly likely that they would have stopped what they were doing... ”