Farmer charged with illegal disposal, water pollution

New Windsor man accused of dumping waste, animal carcasses

September 16, 2006|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,Sun Reporter

The owner of a quarantined Carroll County farm faces more than a half-dozen charges of polluting state waterways and illegally disposing of dead animals.

Carroll Schisler Sr., 60, of the 2500 block of Marston Road in New Windsor has been charged with four counts of illegally discharging a pollutant into state waters and four counts of illegally allowing the disposal of solid waste on his farm, a spokesman from Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.'s office said yesterday.

The state alleges that the water pollution, which occurred March 8 and April 1, resulted from decomposing animals and from waste and wastewater. It also alleges that Schisler allowed the disposal of litter in excess of 500 pounds, including dead animals, discarded vehicles and 5-gallon buckets, on the property.

If convicted of the water pollution charge, Schisler could be sentenced up to one year in prison and fined $25,000 for each offense date. The littering charges each carry sentences of up to five years in prison and a fine of $30,000.

The farm has been under state quarantine since April, when an emaciated pig was discovered to be infected with trichinosis, a deadly parasite. The pig later died.

Yesterday, Roland Walker, Schisler's attorney, said, "We have solid defenses and are going to fight back" against the charges.

Walker said that Schisler hired a "recognized service" to test the creek on his farm and that "the water is fine."

Walker also said that because Schisler's business involves selling animals that he purchases cheaply at auctions, sometimes the animals die of problems that are the result of the previous owners' neglect.

"He carts them [off the farm] as quick as he can," Walker said. "There might be a short period of time when the [dead] animal is on the property, but he disposes of them. They don't lie around."

Edwin Singer, director of the Environmental Health Bureau for Carroll County's Health Department, said he tested water samples this summer taken from Sam's Creek - which is downstream from Schisler's property - and its tributaries.

Singer said he found evidence of some water contamination, but "from a public health standpoint, it was not at a level that is dangerous to human health. It's not something that would substantially increase the risk to humans."

However, he said, the contamination from the creek on the Schisler farm could affect the ecology of downstream waterways.

In addition to yesterday's charges, Schisler and his son, Carroll Schisler Jr., 34, of the 2500 block of Marston Road, were indicted in July on 19 state counts of animal cruelty, feeding garbage to swine and selling contaminated meat on the property. The charges stemmed from two raids by federal and state officials in the spring.

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

In July, a federal judge upheld an order banning the commercial slaughter of animals on the farm. The judge also warned the father and son that a violation of the order could bring fines, jail time and even confiscation of the 112-acre farm.

The judge had issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, after being shown USDA photographs that documented the July 15 slaughter of a goat or sheep on the farm.

Drivers leaving the farm with bags and coolers of meat told federal inspectors that day that they had purchased live animals that were killed and packaged on the property, according to court documents.

But the elder Schisler told the federal judge that his butcher shop stopped operating in April.

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