Schisler Brothers Found Innocentof Animal Cruelty

#19 News Story

December 30, 1990|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

When investigators raided the Marston farm in April, they found piles of rotting animal carcasses and about 250 diseased or malnourished animals wallowing in their own excrement.

Police charged the two brothers who operated the farm with animal cruelty, but in August, a judge found them innocent.

The conditions on the farm weren't perfect, but prosecutors didn't prove Carroll Lynn Schisler, 44, and August "Fred" Schisler, 38, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then-Carroll District Court Judge Francis M. Arnold ruled.

"Between these two days of trial, I have probably heard the best argument for becoming a vegetarian that I've heard in a long time," Arnold said before giving his verdict.

Carroll Schisler also was charged with assaulting a sheriff's deputy and resisting arrest when authorities raided the farm. Arnold found him guilty of those charges and gave him a 90-day suspended sentence and two years of supervised probation.

The Carroll Humane Society began investigating the Schislers after an informant passed along information about conditions at the farm. Neighbors also had complained they could see dead animals from their property and that they were bothered by the smell.

On April 11, officials raided the farm and captured the scene on videotape. They saw a pig's body floating in a food trough, two malnourished swine battling dogs for a goat carcass and birds circling over piles of dead animals.

The Schislers, who said they bought sick animals at livestock auctions and nursed them back to health, also had healthy animals on their 112-acre farm, authorities said.

"In my 35 years of veterinary practice, I never saw any conditions that equaled or came close to these," retired veterinarian Arthur H. Peck testified at the trial.

Several defense witnesses testified conditions on the farm were no different than on other farms.

The Schislers, supervised by Health Department officials, buried the carcasses on their property after the raid.

Investigators also said they found evidence of a slaughterhouse operation at the farm.

"There was meat on the saws and the same blades . . . and fresh blood running down the driveway," said David Stair, chief animal control officer for the Humane Society.

It's legal for farmers to butcher for their own use, but proper zoning is required to sell the meat.

The Schislers face several zoning violations, including operating an illegal slaughterhouse. A hearing on the charges before the County Board of Zoning Appeals has been postponed, and no new date has been set.

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