Residents react to potential avian influenza case in Toombs Co.

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 4:13 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Officials with the Georgia Department of Agriculture are actively investigating a potential avian influenza case on a property off highway 280 in Toombs County.

The owner of that land says they’ve already had to euthanize hundreds of his birds.

“I raise anything from finches to peacocks,” Tony Poole, property owner said.

Tuesday night, Poole told WTOC – he believes buzzards spread the disease to his birds, something the state agriculture department has not confirmed.

And Poole blames recently-built cell phone towers.

He says these towers attracted flocks of buzzards, that terrorized his land.

“They would eat the windshield wipers off your vehicle, eat the roof off the top of your house,” Poole said.

Poole says, last week, he spotted a dead buzzard.

Then, some of his birds started dying.

Department of Agriculture officials were on-site testing Sunday night.

“They called me yesterday and said it was a confirmed positive test on the ducks,” Poole said.

Poole says they had to euthanize all his birds.

A neighbor says he’s worried a potential outbreak could be bad news for nearby chicken producers.

“It’s affected the economy and everything around here,” Rick Bell, neighbor said.

Rick Bell lives right next door.

He took us back to one of the cell towers.

You can see all the recently dead buzzards.

He says – other neighbors are worried as well.

“It’s a bunch of concerned people. I know a guy who owns chickens, has three chicken houses, and he can’t do anything with his eggs. He can’t do anything with his chickens, for I don’t know how long,” Bell said.

WTOC is working to get more information on this potential avian influenza case.

Stay with WTOC for updates.

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