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Woman to Pay Fine in Hawks’ Deaths

August 28, 2002

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A millionaire agreed to pay a fine and publicize her misdeeds for illegally trapping and killing 171 federally protected hawks on her farm and hunting preserve.

Gwynne G. McDevitt, 71, and a 62-year-old farmhand intend to plead guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Under a plea bargain, McDevitt agreed to pay a $45,000 fine and $84,500 in restitution for ordering her staff to trap and kill the hawks. The hawks had been feasting on game birds at her sprawling suburban Philadelphia estate and interfering with her efforts to train hunting dogs.

McDevitt, onwer of Doubledee Farm and Kennels, also agreed to perform 200 hours community service and take out an advertisement in Gun Dog magazine describing her prosecution.

The plea deal must be approved by a federal judge.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said the hunts were ``a deliberate systematic violation of the law.″

McDevitt keeps horses, trains as many as 20 dogs at a time and raises raises pigeons and stocks the farm with quail and pheasants for the dogs to hunt, prosecutors said.

In the late 1990s, hawks began preying on the smaller birds, but her application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a permit to trap the hawks was denied.

Starting in late 1999, investigators said McDevitt bought stronger traps and instructed Artimus Jenkins to bait them with live pigeons and shoot each hawk in the head.

As many as 15 carcasses were dumped in a nearby landfill each month, authorities said.

Neither McDevitt nor Jenkins answered phone calls for comment Tuesday. McDevitt’s attorney, Daniel Sullivan, did not immediately return a call to his New York office.

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