Poisoned eagles mystery believed solved

Poisoned eagles mystery believed solved
LYNNWOOD, Wash. -- A mystery is believed to be solved into how a half-dozen eagles were poisoned in Enumclaw.

It began last week when neighbors discovered the protected birds, usually perched in trees just outside Enumclaw, dying in a field.

"I got a ring at my doorbell at seven o'clock in the morning from somebody with an eagle in their arms, and she thought it was dead," said Bruce Richards with the state Department of Wildlife.

Veterinarians soon determined the birds were poisoned. But nobody in town could figure out how, or whether anyone was doing it maliciously.

They knew they had to find out quickly, or risk harm to who knows how many more eagles.

Richards started going door to door, but it didn’t take long to discover a likely cause.

"It was the first door I knocked on," Richards said.

A farmer told the wildlife agent he euthanized his aging horse by injecting it with vet-prescribed barbiturates.

"He was very honest; he said yeah, they put a horse down," Richards said.

But Richards says because the farmer did not bury the horse properly, countless eagles and other animals fed on the poisoned meat.

As a result, six eagles are now being treated inside the PAWS Animal Clinic in Lynnwood, but one of the eagles has since died.

Because the bald eagle is our national bird, it's protected under federal law. But Richards says he doesn't know if there will be any charges.

"I don't know what happens," he said. "I've never had something like this happen. It's not like he was intentionally trying to poison the eagles and I'm not going to make him out to be a bad guy."

So far, there's no word if any other animals got sick.