by JUDY REED Pair planned to release animal into the wild The owners of a private deer farm in Algoma Township have been arrested and charged with violating the Chronic Wasting Disease quarantine order issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) last summer. The MDA and Department fo Natural Resources (DNR) announced last August that a three-year-old white-tailed doe from a privately owned facility in Rockford had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, a neurological brain and nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose. It is the state’s first case. According to Mary Detloff, of the DNR, James and Brian Schuiteman, owners of J&B Whitetails, where the original deer was found, attempted to move a male deer from the facility on August 23, the day after the quarantine was issued. At approximately midnight, DNR Conservation Officers David Rodgers and Michael Mshar observed two people enter the quarantined facility with flashlights and a tranquilizer gun. The officers watched the men single out a specific deer and tranquilize it. They then loaded it into an enclosed trailer and towed it from the property, where officers conducted a traffic stop to detain the suspects. Officers determined a live male white-tailed deer was in the trailer, with identification tags removed. Upon questioning the suspects, the officers learned it was the men’s intent to release the buck into the wild. Officers returned the animal to the facility, where it was euthanized and immediately transported to the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University for testing. The deer tested negative for CWD. All 40 of the remaining deer at the farm were also shot and killed, then tested for the disease. All the test results came back negative. Four other deer that had been moved to farms in Montcalm and Osceola counties also tested negative for the disease. James Arthur Schuiteman, 52, and Brian Lee Schuiteman, 24, were arraigned in Rockford’s 63rd District Court, and charged with violating Michigan’s Animal Industry Act for movement of an animal in violation of the quarantine placed on their facility by MDA. This is a felony charge carrying a penalty of $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and imprisonment of up to five years. Both men waived their right […]
On January 16, a complaint was received by the Kent County Sheriff Department alleging that a violation of the Open Meetings Act had occurred at Grattan Township. Kent County investigators have been actively working the case. On February 17, a search warrant was executed at the Grattan Township Hall where computers were seized by detectives. Interviews have been conducted as it relates to an October 27, 2008, meeting held by the township board, and whether board members violated the law. Kent County officials have been working with the Kent County Prosecutor’s office, and when complete, the investigation will be turned over to the Kent County Prosecutor for review. According to Lt. Kevin Kelly of the Kent County Sheriff Department, there have been no arrests or warrants yet in the case. The complaint was that there was no public posting 18 hours prior to the meeting, as required. The Grattan Township clerk and supervisor did not return calls asking for more information.