Bill That Aims To Regulate Rat Poison Passes House; Needs Senate Approval

Close-Up Portrait Of Rat Drinking Water

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BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - "This is kind of at a crisis stage." Attleboro Rep. Jim Hawkins said. "The wildlife rescues report about 90 percent of the animals they treat are suffering from rat poison."

A law that would help protect pets and wildlife from a certain kind of rat poison known as second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, or SGARS, has passed the house and is now awaiting action by the state Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Rep. Hawkins is the author of the bill and said it aims to monitor and reduce the use of SGARS. The specific type of poison prevents the clotting of blood, causing the animal that consumes it, to bleed internally until it's death.

"They bleed to death, and when one of the other animals gets it, like an owl, they bleed to death too." Rep. Hawkins told WBZ's Suzanne Sausville. "It's a horrible horrible death."

The bill would force pest control companies to electronically inform the state about when and where the poison is being used.

He explains pest control companies use bait boxes containing the poison, when the rat goes in and leaves, they're sluggish, making them an easy target for an owl or predator. Then that owl feeds it to their babies.

"That same owl would have killed hundreds of rats in the meantime if he didn't get killed." He said.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has taken action to reduce the availability of SGARS, by prohibiting use by non-commercial purposes.

Rep. Hawkins expects the bill to pass the senate before the session ends at the end of the month and said he'd like to see the poison banned all together, but that would takes years to pass, if at all.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@WBZSausville) reports

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