A Long Island pigeon enthusiast who pleaded guilty to capturing and killing federally protected hawks in Stamford has been sentenced to probation.
"Red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks are protected species under federal law," said U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly.
Thomas Kapusta, of Westbury, New York, pleaded guilty in February to four counts of taking, capturing and killing red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks and one count of conspiracy to take and kill the hawks.
"With our law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who violate the law and harm such protected migratory birds."
Red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks are birds of prey that consume pigeons.
Kapusta admitted he constructed and maintained a pigeon coop in order to race the birds on Weed Avenue in Stamford. The man said he would let the pigeons out of the coop for exercise and viewed the hawks on his property as a threat, according to court documents.
The 63-year-old said he and his associate, Adam Boguski, set up a trap designed to capture birds of prey and then shot them before disposing of their bodies on four occasions between early September and late October.
In August, Adam Boguski, 43, of Stamford plead guilty to two counts of taking, capturing and killing the same hawks and conspiracy to commit the crime.
According to court documents, Boguski and Kapust both set up the coop in Stamford and would raise racing pigeons.
Officials said Boguski admitted he and Kapusta killed them because they were concerned the hawks threatened their pigeons.
Kapusta was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $5,500 fine, in addition to performing 90 hours of community service at a local animal shelter.