After a thorough investigation, a pair of Louisiana men were charged with conspiring to illegally smuggle deer by officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Cited for a number of Lacey Act violations, the two men; Edward L. Donaldson Jr., 75 and John Jared Oertling, 42, were in court this week where they entered a guilty plea for their reckless actions.
The two men admitted to conspiring to import live whitetail deer between 2010 and 2012 to the Turkey Trot Ranch, a high-fence game farm they manage on behalf of Oertling’s wife, Jill Marie Donaldson.
In addition to the illegal importation, the two men also admitted that the deer they brought to the ranch illegally were also from a facility in Pennsylvania that had tested positive for the presence of chronic wasting disease.
As the deadly disease continues to make headlines across much of the country, the guilty plea in this case is in the least, a step in the right direction.
While the importation of live deer has long been illegal, concerns over the spread of the disease have led to additional regulations surrounding the deer farming industry.
Under Rule 2.7, which was passed in 2016, “It is unlawful to import, transport, or possess any portion of a cervid carcass originating from any state, territory, or foreign country where the occurrence of CWD has been confirmed by either the state wildlife agency, state agriculture agency, state veterinarian, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).”