On Wednesday, Connecticut state Sen. Bob Duff shared how traumatizing it was to see a Cooper’s hawk flailing around in his driveway after eating a rodent poisoned by anticoagulant rodenticides during compelling testimony at the General Assembly’s Environment Committee public hearing for HB5217, an act concerning the use of certain rodenticides.

“You can tell it was too skinny and needed fluids. Something was terribly wrong with it,” Duff recalled. “It was having seizures basically—going on its back, flapping its wings and getting back up again. And just moving around in a terrible way. The issue is we see this all the time now—these animals ingesting anticoagulant rodenticides. It’s something we can do something about. It’s something we have control over. We can not have nuisances, but we can also insure we are not harming wildlife because we are putting out dangerous chemicals in nature.”

While the Cooper hawk survived, many of the state’s owls, hawks, eagles and other animals do not.

Friends of Animals pointed that out in our testimony in support of the bill, which is also being championed by state Rep. Joe Gresko.

A Place Called Hope raptor rehabilitation center has completed 79 tests on killed birds and animals, with 68 being positive for second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). (This includes 3 bald eagles, our national bird, and 3 mammals.]

FoA pressed for the bill to be strengthened. The current language would make SGARs restricted use, so it would only be illegal to use them without a permit. That means the 322 people already licensed to use SGARs in the state would continue to be able to use them, putting black bait boxes outside grocery stores, in housing developments and town parks, to mention a few, whether a so-called rodent problem exists or not.

FoA asked the Environment Committee to ban the use of SGARs statewide with the same language used in California’s law, which includes these exceptions: warehouses used to store foods for human or animal consumption; agricultural food production sites; factories, breweries, or wineries; medical facilities, and drug and medical equipment manufacturing facilities.

Places where people eat, shop, live and work—such as restaurants, grocery stores, homes, housing facilities, schools and office buildings—are not exempt.

California’s law also allows the use of SGARs to control a rodent infestation associated with a public health crisis if it is determined by the Commissioner of Public Health.

But FoA pointed out that there have been no public health emergencies in California since 2020 or in British Columbia since 2021 when they banned SGARS—proof that we can protect wildlife without compromising public health.

“Our goal is to reduce unnecessary second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide use, and encourage less toxic pest control methods,” said Nicole Rivard, government relations manager for Friends of Animals. “Anticoagulants ‘mis’-manage the problem—they will never solve it. Putting out bait boxes, which attract rodents into an area, is a scam.