Man pleads guilty to killing protected birds in Bowie County

Federal Courthouse Texarkana
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A man who used a deadly pesticide to control wild hogs in Bowie County pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Texarkana federal court to killing protected migratory birds.

John Purviance, 46, entered pleas of guilty to two misdemeanor offenses-unlawful taking of migratory birds and unlawful use of a pesticide-at a hearing Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. According to court documents, Purviance was intending to kill feral hogs when he placed feed corn mixed with karo syrup and the highly toxic pesticide aldicarb, sold under the brand name Temek, at 15 different locations in Bowie County near the Folse ranch.

Temek is currently being phased out for use on commercial crops in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. The EPA states that Temek was used on citrus and potatoes in the past but is being removed from the market because of the risk it poses to humans and animals. The chemical is never safe to use on top of the ground.

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Purviance’s use of Temek did result in the deaths of some feral hogs, which can cause major damage to property and livestock. However, the poisoned corn also killed raccoons and possums and several types of migratory birds protected by federal law. Six red-winged blackbirds, five northern cardinals and one black vulture died from eating the Temek-laced corn Purviance put out hoping to kill the hog pests.

Purviance faces up to a $25,000 fine on each count. Unlawful taking of migratory birds is punishable by up to a year in prison and unlawful use of a pesticide is punishable by up to six months in prison. However, Purviance’s plea agreement includes a year of probation, several thousand in fines and community service. Purviance will return to court for formal sentencing in a few months. He is currently free on an unsecured bond.

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