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Deer that Buck the System Pose a Threat

Feb 21

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2/21/2012 1:25 PM  RssIcon

A Georgia man apprehended in North Carolina was sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, and ordered to serve six months’ probation for attempting to transport deer illegally from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

Donald Lee Vaughn, 48, of Villa Rica, Ga., had been apprehended in Yadkin County, where wildlife officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission determined that there were no transport permits of veterinary health certificates accompanying the deer. He pleaded guilty in federal court in Atlanta on Nov. 30, 2011.

“Shipping wildlife across state lines without testing for illness and disease potentially threatens the health of our wild deer population,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. “Experts tell us that once diseases spread, they are almost impossible to eradicate.”

Federal law requires that any deer shipped out of state must be tested for tuberculosis and accompanied by proper ear tags and a veterinarian’s certificate. In North Carolina, it is illegal for anyone to possess deer unless they have a proper license or permit and comply with its conditions. Otherwise, the animals are considered contraband and their continued possession is illegal.

Since 2002, except for fawns taken to licensed rehabilitators, it has been illegal to transfer deer between facilities. These measures have been in place to prevent introduction and spread of wildlife diseases including chronic wasting disease.

“This case demonstrates that there will be consequences to those who indiscriminately transport wildlife in interstate commerce and jeopardize the welfare of native populations,” said Luis J. Santiago, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service special agent in charge for the Southeast region.

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