Washington Humane Society Will Overhaul Bird Care

Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 ET from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Attorney's Office

    WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Under a plea agreement with the U.S.
 Attorney's Office, the Washington (D.C.) Humane Society has agreed to revamp
 its programs for sick, injured and nuisance birds in the nation's capital,
 according to Dr. Mamie A. Parker, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's acting
 regional director in the Northeast.
     The Justice Department announced today that the plea agreement was reached
 in response to misdemeanor violations of illegal collection and euthanasia of
 hundreds of migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
 Earlier today, the Honorable Ricardo Urbina of the United States District
 Court for the District of Columbia accepted the plea agreement, which includes
 a term of one-year probation, during which the Humane Society will attend a
 comprehensive training program for its employees who handle and care for
 birds.
     "We can make an opportunity out of an unfortunate situation by linking our
 expertise and resources with the Washington Humane Society and the District to
 ensure better care for birds in the future," Parker said.
     Last fall, a Service special agent began investigating after a much-
 publicized incident of northern mockingbirds attacking passers-by near a State
 Department building.  A Humane Society employee removed the birds.  The agent
 found that the Humane Society did not have the required permits for handling
 migratory birds, Parker said.  The agent also uncovered questionable practices
 in the Humane Society's possession and care of nearly 900 birds during a four-
 year period.
     The Service has now issued the appropriate permit to the District's
 Department of Health for the Humane Society to continue its contractual work.
 The permit allows temporary possession and care of sick or injured migratory
 birds, but does not allow healthy birds to be collected, nor does it allow the
 Humane Society to euthanize birds.
     A non-profit animal welfare organization, the Humane Society works under
 contract for the District of Columbia Department of Health, which has
 responsibility for wildlife management programs.  The contract involves animal
 control and operation of an animal shelter.
     The plea agreement with the Department of Justice calls for a
 comprehensive training program for Humane Society staff.  The training program
 will be developed with expertise and support from the Service, conservation
 organizations, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of
 Agriculture's Wildlife Services.
     Humane Society employees will be trained in handling nuisance species,
 relocation and release procedures, bird identification, and bird migrations.
 The program also will focus on building awareness of contaminants issues and
 other environmental factors that typically affect migratory birds in urban
 areas.  Employees will be fully educated on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and
 associated regulations relating to handling and care of birds.
     The 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the nation's oldest federal
 conservation laws, includes prohibitions and restrictions on collecting and
 handling the more than 830 bird species that migrate through the United
 States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and Russia.  The Service has primary
 responsibility for ensuring compliance with this law.
     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency
 responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants
 and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The
 Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which
 encompasses more than 530 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
 wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish
 hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field
 stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
 Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
 nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such
 as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It
 also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of
 dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and
 wildlife agencies.
 
 

SOURCE U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Attorney's Office
    WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Under a plea agreement with the U.S.
 Attorney's Office, the Washington (D.C.) Humane Society has agreed to revamp
 its programs for sick, injured and nuisance birds in the nation's capital,
 according to Dr. Mamie A. Parker, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's acting
 regional director in the Northeast.
     The Justice Department announced today that the plea agreement was reached
 in response to misdemeanor violations of illegal collection and euthanasia of
 hundreds of migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
 Earlier today, the Honorable Ricardo Urbina of the United States District
 Court for the District of Columbia accepted the plea agreement, which includes
 a term of one-year probation, during which the Humane Society will attend a
 comprehensive training program for its employees who handle and care for
 birds.
     "We can make an opportunity out of an unfortunate situation by linking our
 expertise and resources with the Washington Humane Society and the District to
 ensure better care for birds in the future," Parker said.
     Last fall, a Service special agent began investigating after a much-
 publicized incident of northern mockingbirds attacking passers-by near a State
 Department building.  A Humane Society employee removed the birds.  The agent
 found that the Humane Society did not have the required permits for handling
 migratory birds, Parker said.  The agent also uncovered questionable practices
 in the Humane Society's possession and care of nearly 900 birds during a four-
 year period.
     The Service has now issued the appropriate permit to the District's
 Department of Health for the Humane Society to continue its contractual work.
 The permit allows temporary possession and care of sick or injured migratory
 birds, but does not allow healthy birds to be collected, nor does it allow the
 Humane Society to euthanize birds.
     A non-profit animal welfare organization, the Humane Society works under
 contract for the District of Columbia Department of Health, which has
 responsibility for wildlife management programs.  The contract involves animal
 control and operation of an animal shelter.
     The plea agreement with the Department of Justice calls for a
 comprehensive training program for Humane Society staff.  The training program
 will be developed with expertise and support from the Service, conservation
 organizations, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of
 Agriculture's Wildlife Services.
     Humane Society employees will be trained in handling nuisance species,
 relocation and release procedures, bird identification, and bird migrations.
 The program also will focus on building awareness of contaminants issues and
 other environmental factors that typically affect migratory birds in urban
 areas.  Employees will be fully educated on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and
 associated regulations relating to handling and care of birds.
     The 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the nation's oldest federal
 conservation laws, includes prohibitions and restrictions on collecting and
 handling the more than 830 bird species that migrate through the United
 States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and Russia.  The Service has primary
 responsibility for ensuring compliance with this law.
     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency
 responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants
 and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The
 Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which
 encompasses more than 530 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
 wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish
 hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field
 stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
 Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
 nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such
 as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It
 also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of
 dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and
 wildlife agencies.
 
 SOURCE  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Attorney's Office