(Natural News) Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agents recently killed six animals while conducting an “animal rescue operation” at a Petoskey farm in Emmet County, Michigan. As part of the operation, the agents also arrested Kei Ju Farm and Rescue owner Julie Hall.
The DNR received a complaint stating that Hall was rehabilitating wild animals on the farm, which was not a licensed rehabilitation facility in the state.
Lt. Jim Gorno of the District 3 division of the DNR said Hall had already been warned about rehabilitating wild animals prior to the complaint. As the complaint followed a previous warning, the DNR moved forward with charges.
“We just can’t rehab every animal that we get a call on. I understand that Julie took in everything. But she has to call us and say she has it,” Gorno said. “That’s why the DNR is in place, we have places for these animals.”
“We put out press releases every spring saying, do not pick up wildlife, do not keep wildlife, do not take wildlife out of the wild. It’s illegal and it’s not good for wildlife,” he added. “Most of the time it’s almost a death sentence for these animals, because a lot of them can’t be re-released after they are raised or taken by humans.”
Kei Ju Farm and Rescue is widely known for its open-door policy for both community members and animals.
Hall has been rescuing animals due to lack of licensed rehabilitation facility
Hall has been rescuing both wild and domestic animals and nursing them back to health for years, because there is no animal rescue in Petoskey. She says that she’s equipped with years of experience in the field and has a farm where she can (and does) carry out the rehabilitations. (Related: California passes sweeping new ‘animal abuse’ laws that give government massive new powers over animal ownership.)
“We have no more rehab centers up here,” she said. “So this ole farm gal helps everyone.”
Folks in the community said that Hall has saved countless animals over the years and has provided a much-needed service in the absence of a licensed rehabilitation facility.
A warrant was issued for her arrest following a complaint apparently filed by a former volunteer on the farm. Hall was charged with a misdemeanor for holding wild animals in captivity without a permit.
Hall said she was on a waitlist to obtain a permit, but felt the incident was fueled by a grudge more than anything else.
“None of this was about the animals. It was about a volunteer that got caught stealing and got back at me by filling a complaint that I had wild animals. Animals I had loved and cared for, for years,” Hall said in a Facebook post. “Anyone that knows me or has been to the farm knows the care of any animal is my priority. To even believe for one moment that a disabled animal is not given every chance to be able to safely return to the wild is absurd. None, I repeat none, were ever exploited.”
Hall’s niece set up a GoFundMe account to help her aunt with the legal fees. As of the time of writing, it had already passed its goal of $5,000.
Small deer, blind racoon, one-legged crow among those killed by DNR agents
But no amount of money could bring the animals that Hall cared for back to life.
“That Thursday, the DNR rolled in with four trucks. They knew exactly where all the animals were,” Hall recalled. “They killed the deer on the spot.”
The small deer was taken in as a two-week-old fawn at the end of fall. Hall had used milk from her goats to help the deer regain strength and had a pen for it on the farm.
“She was jumping in and out of the fence and she had other deer friends up here behind us,” Hall said. “In fact, the following week, the little deer friend that she was playing with up there kept coming around the pen and coming around the pen and looking for her.”
DNR agents also confiscated and killed animals that Hall planned on keeping because they could not return to the wild.
Among them was a blind raccoon with Down syndrome named Sassy. She was the only animal that threw a fit when handed to the DNR agents, Hall said. Another was a one-legged crow that a child had brought in.
Animal rights activist taken into custody for saving animals
Hall’s case had some similarities to that of Tammie Hedges, an animal rights activist who was taken into custody and booked on several charges for protecting animals during Hurricane Florence.
Hedges and her group of friends rescued animals they found in danger of drowning from rising floodwaters in Wayne County, North Carolina from Hurricane Florence.
All the animals were transported to a warehouse complete with cages, food, water, pee pads and litter boxes. Volunteers even slept in the warehouse to make sure rising floodwaters wouldn’t threaten the rescue operation.
Some two dozen animals were rescued before Wayne County Animal Control demanded the animals be turned over to them. They told Hedges to surrender the animals or they would get a warrant. She complied.
But the officers who arrived to transport the animals to the state-approved animal shelter told Hedges she was running an illegal animal shelter without a permit.
Hedges was charged with multiple counts of administering drugs such as amoxicillin, Tramadol and others to animals that she had rescued. All of the charges were later dismissed.
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