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SALT SPRINGS — A 76-year-old man who said he put out poison to protect his peacocks, chickens and guineas from coyotes has been arrested after sheriff’s investigators say he instead killed scores of other animals, including Florida black bears, bobcats and dogs.

Jerry Wesley Rushing was picked up Thursday by a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy at his Salt Springs residence, located in the 24600 block of Northeast 130th Street, and transported to the Marion County Jail on warrants for animal cruelty, unlawful use of pesticide, use of pesticide without a permit, and willful and wanton waste of wildlife.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said they received a complaint against Rushing in late April that accused him of poisoning both wild and domestic animals.

Officer Asa Dias of FWC went to the 13000 block of Northeast 247th Court in Salt Springs and met with residents who said Rushing had admitted to them that he had used the poison Temik to protect his peacocks, guineas and chickens from predators, despite their pleas for him not to use the harmful product. Temik, the investigator concluded, is a dangerous pesticide used for commercial production of ornamental plants to fight insects, mites and nematodes.

The neighbors told Dias that they had overlooked what they described as “countless dead wild animal carcasses throughout the years,” authorities reported. They said that within the past several months, multiple dogs had died suddenly. One of the neighbors estimated that, within the past several years, hundreds of wild animals and numerous domestic animals had died from poisoning.


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FWC: Man kills scores of animals with poison intended to ward off coyotes | Gainesville.com (external - login to view)