Flaco the Eurasian eagle owl was suffering from high levels of rat poison and a pigeon-borne illness when he crashed into a building and died last month, a necropsy revealed March 25.

Sadly, he is not the first of NYC’s “celebrity owls” to be poisoned by rodenticides.

Barry, the beloved barred owl who died in 2021 in Central Park, had a potentially lethal level of rat poison that could have impaired her flying abilities before she crashed into a maintenance truck.

Because of these tragic deaths, Friends of Animals is asking the New York City Council to introduce a ban on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in NYC. Pest management companies should not be allowed to put 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. In neighboring Connecticut—where Friends of Animals helped draft HB5217, legislation that bans SGARs, and is working to get it across the finish line—the evidence that these poisons pose an unreasonable risk to wildlife is piling up from our state’s unsung heroes.

A Place Called Hope, which is a birds of prey rehab center in Killingworth, Conn., has completed 79 toxicity tests on killed birds and animals with 68 being positive for SGARS, including three bald eagles; barn owls, which are endangered; and two species of special concern — the broad-winged hawk and American kestrel.

We are thrilled that Rhode Island has also introduced legislation that would ban SGARs. FoA submitted testimony to the RI’s Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee public hearing on March 20 in support of S-2745.

Stay tuned!