A Somers Point man was sentenced today to six hours in jail for killing, or attempting to kill, four different species of hawks protected by federal law, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Robert Losasso, 70, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion to six counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty act for shooting the birds from his home. Judge Mannion imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Losasso admitted that he fatally shot or attempted to shoot red-tailed, sharp-shinned, red-shouldered and Cooper’s hawks on several occasions. These species are among the tens of thousands of birds of prey that migrate every year from Canada along the Atlantic Flyway through New Jersey. Losasso also admitted that he didn’t have any permit to shoot the birds.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a statute that was enacted in 1918 and implements in the United States protections afforded migratory birds under several international conventions to which the United States is a party. Breeding populations of red-shouldered hawks are listed as endangered on the State of New Jersey’s Endangered and Threatened Wildlife list. Sharp-shinned hawks and populations of Cooper’s hawks also have special protections under New Jersey state law.
In addition to the incarceration, which will be served Jan. 5, 2015, Judge Mannion sentenced Losasso to 18 months of supervised release, during which time he may not possess any firearms. He must also pay a total of $4,350 in restitution to four wildlife rehabilitation facilities and perform 60 hours of community service at a wildlife facility.
In his plea agreement, Losasso must also pay more than $4,000 in restitution to the wildlife rehabilitation centers that incurred losses treating or euthanizing hawks injured as a result of his conduct.