Pesticide baiting: EPA FAQs

The NSW Environment Protection Authority is aware of incidents of unlawful animal poisoning (pesticide baiting) over the last month.

It is important to know what to do and who to call if you suspect that someone has laid a pesticide bait to harm wildlife or domestic pets.

Homemade pesticide baits are toxic substances and it is illegal to lay them. Sometimes a  bait can be hard to identify  as it may be wrapped  up or the pesticide has been used as a food coating (usually a meat product or grain). Dogs and birds are frequently the victims of pesticide baits. Pesticide baits may also harm other wildlife or the environment and can be a danger to humans. You should always be careful if you suspect a baited substance.

The NSW EPA works with councils to investigate reports of pesticide baiting. The EPA regulates the safe and correct use of pesticides in NSW and, when a pesticide is misused, the EPA will investigate and take regulatory action. If the misuse causes harm to animals, humans or the environment, that action can include fines or legal action.

What to do if you find or suspect a bait

Do not touch the bait. Keep animals and children away. Report it to your council and the EPA as soon as possible. You can report baiting or pesticide misuse incidents to the NSW EPA’s Environment Line 24/7 on 131 555.

If you are concerned about possible human exposure, contact the Poisons Information Hotline on 13 11 26.

If sick or injured birds or other wildlife are found, contact the RSPCA on 1300 278 3589 or WIRES on 1300 094737.

Penalties

The misuse of pesticides – including non-commercial pesticide baits – carries heavy penalties. Using pesticide in a way that could cause harm incurs fines of up to $60,000. If the use causes actual injury, damage or harm to people, property or animals, that fine doubles.

The penalties are higher again if a protected species is harmed or killed. Magpies, for example, are a protected species. Harming or killing a magpie or other protected species can incur financial penalties in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and up to two years imprisonment.

Risks

Pesticide baits can be fatal to pets and wildlife. They can also be toxic to the local environment. Some baits can even pose serious health risks to humans. Pesticides are hazardous and handling them without the appropriate personal protective equipment can result in serious harm. Pesticides can cause adverse health effects including stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness and even death.

The community plays an important role in reporting baiting activities. If you are concerned about illegal baits or related suspicious behaviour, or you have knowledge of an incident, please call the 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.