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Stamford Man Sentenced For Capturing And Killing Federally Protected Hawks

Cooper’s hawk
Cooper’s hawk Photo Credit: Audubon.org

STAMFORD, Conn. -- A Stamford man was sentenced to probation and community services for trapping and killing federally protected hawks that he saw as a threat to his racing pigeons.

Adam Boguski, 44, was sentenced Tuesday to one year probation, as well as a $250 fine and 60 hours of community service at a local animal shelter for killing red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks, according to Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. Attorney for the district of Connecticut.

According to court documents, Boguski and Thomas Kapusta of Waterbury, N.Y. were racing pigeon enthusiasts who constructed and maintained a pigeon coop on Weed Avenue in Stamford. They kept a large number of racing pigeons at this coop, and regularly let them out to exercise.

Red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks are birds of prey and consume pigeons as part of their natural diet. Because Kapusta and Boguski viewed them as a threat to their pigeons, they systematically captured them in a trap specifically designed to capture birds of prey, according to Daly. They then shot and killed them in a trap and disposed of their carcasses, Daly said.

The hawks are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Daly said that Kapusta knew he was violating the law, and instructed Boguski to refer to the hawk trap as a "breeding cage" if police ever asked about it.

Boguski pleaded guilty on Aug. 8, 2016 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. In pleading guilty, he admitted that he killed Cooper's hawks on Sept. 27, 2015 and Oct. 17, 2015, Daly said.

Kapusta pleaded guilty on Feb. 17, 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. He was sentenced in October to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $5,500 fine and perform 90 hours of community service at a local animal shelter.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny ordered several special conditions to Kapusta's and Boguski's terms of probation that restrict their ability to engage in the racing pigeon hobby, including allowing the pigeon coop in Stamford to be randomly inspected by federal and state environmental authorities.

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