Michigan couple facing charges after allowing dozens of domesticated deer starve to death on their property

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A couple in Bay County, Michigan, are facing charges after the discovery of dozens of dead deer on their property. As reported by MLive.com, 57-year-old Pamela A. Reinhardt, and her husband (not yet publicly named) were charged on December 28 for allowing domesticated deer on their Garfield Road property, in Beaver Township, to starve to death.

The couple were going through a divorce and Pamela’s husband told Bay County Animal Services and Adoption Center that he could no longer afford to care for the estimated 100 deer living on their property. On October 7, the husband went to the animal services facility again and told them that he noticed six dead deer inside of the fenced-in property. Animal Services and a Dept. of Natural Resources officer went to the property and discovered that many more deer were emaciated and dead – the report details what was observed:

“Dead animals could be viewed plainly from the driveway approaching the barn and fenced area,” the Animal Services officer wrote in his report. “Upon approaching the enclosure approximately 25 dead deer could be seen from the outside of the fence [sic]. The remaining 90-100 deer appeared thin, ribs showing on some, visible hip bones, hair loss, etc.”

After securing a search warrant, officials returned to the property and found 36 dead deer – some who were “rotted to their bones.”

When Pamela Reinhardt was questioned by Animal Services officers, she told them that she and her husband had been going through a divorce for approximately two years, and though they lived at the same residence, they did not speak to each other. She claimed that she did not know that her husband had not been feeding the deer, which they had jointly owned for 10 years.

Reinhardt was ordered to get food for the deer, but during a welfare check on October 15, more dead deer were found and what small amount of food they had was muddy. Officers discovered that Reinhardt had not put out the majority of food and grain that had been purchased for the deer.

On October 22, Reinhardt informed officers that she had received court approval to “liquidate” the herd; she told them that she intended to have the deer shot. When officers returned to the property on January 19, they confirmed that there were no deer on the property.

According to the news agency, the couple is facing charges for abandonment of or cruelty to 25 or more animals, a felony which is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

(stock image of a deer via Pixabay)

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