Pasadena – Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) officers and Wildlife & Heritage Service (WHS) biologists executed a search and seizure warrant yesterday at a residence in Pasadena to seize and transport 14 fallow deer that were held captive illegally. The deer were transported to a lab to be euthanized. The deer will be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Tuberculosis (TB).
“Given the potentially devastating effects of CWD, a disease nearly identical to Mad-Cow Disease, and the unknown effects associated with it, failure to take quick and decisive action would be irresponsible as state natural resource managers,” said Paul A. Peditto, WHS Director.
“By eliminating these potential carriers, we can find and minimize any potential outbreaks,” Peditto added. “As with any wildlife disease, the likelihood that these pathogens appear increases exponentially when wild animals are held in captivity.”
CWD is fatal to deer and elk species. There is no live animal test for CWD; nor is there a vaccine that can be administered. The disease attacks the brain and spinal cord of the animals and is believed to be caused by prions, which are modified proteins. Most northeastern and southeastern states have conducted CWD surveillance for the past two years and no sign of CWD has been found in hunter-harvested deer.
The owner of the captive deer, Allen Edwards Anderson, 62, was charged with possessing live deer within the state without a proper wildlife permit.
Game husbandry licenses for deer have not been issued in the state of Maryland since 1984 to prevent the spread of rabies. At that time, more than 100 people were exposed to deer that tested positive for rabies.
In addition, a new state regulation that took effect in 2002 states that a person may not transport a live deer (cervid) into or out of the State or transport, move or possess a live deer within the State.
There is a ban on importation, exportation and the transportation of legally licensed deer except when transporting for Chronic Wasting Disease testing.
For more information about Chronic Wasting Disease and DNR’s effort to prevent it from reaching the state, visit the DNR web site at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/cwdinformation.html