12 pigs euthanized after positive parasite tests

Owner of quarantined Carroll farm says animals are not his

July 20, 2006|By LAURA MCCANDLISH | LAURA MCCANDLISH,SUN REPORTER

Twelve pigs believed to have wandered from a quarantined Carroll County farm have tested positive for one or two parasites that are contracted by eating raw, diseased meat, officials from the Maryland Department of Agriculture said yesterday.

All 12 pigs were euthanized and at least three others found on a neighboring property should be put down, said Sue duPont, a state agriculture spokeswoman.

The farm's owner maintains that the pigs are feral and not his.

"We don't want any chance of anything going into the human food chain if they were sold," duPont said.

Five of the pigs trapped outside the farm in Marston in western Carroll County tested positive for trichinosis, a deadly disease caused by a parasitic worm. Trichinosis has all but been eradicated from the nation's food supply, agriculture experts said.

Nine of the pigs had toxoplasmosis, a more common parasite sometimes contracted from ingested cat feces, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An additional pig that was confiscated from the Marston farm tested negative for both trichinosis and toxoplasmosis, duPont said.

State veterinarians will test the remaining pigs that are kept on the 112-acre farm, owned by Carroll Schisler Sr., 60, of the 2500 block of Marston Road and supervised by his son, Carroll Schisler Jr., 34.

Through their attorneys, both men have maintained that the animals did not contract the diseases while in their care.

The two have been arrested on a 19-count indictment that included charges of animal cruelty, feeding garbage to swine and selling contaminated meat.

They also face federal charges of operating a slaughterhouse without a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Humans can contract trichinosis and toxoplasmosis from eating undercooked, contaminated meat, according to the CDC.

However, agriculture officials have said customers probably haven't purchased or consumed pork from the Schisler farm since it was quarantined in early April.

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

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