Pigs under quarantine vanish from Carroll farm

September 28, 2006|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,SUN REPORTER

More than 100 pigs have vanished from a farm in western Carroll County that is under quarantine because of trichinosis.

Officials were concerned that the pigs from the Marston farm of Carroll Schisler Sr. may have been taken to slaughterhouses.

"The immediate public health concern - especially with the history of that farm - is that some of his pigs have shown up with trichinosis. ... That's something you don't want in the food chain," said Larry Leitch, the county's health officer.

Schisler said he can't find 104 of the 105 pigs that were on the property, according to his attorney, Roland Walker.

"I don't know who took them or where they are now," Walker said.

Officials from the state Department of Agriculture had planned to test the pigs on the Schisler property Sept. 14 but arrived to find the gates locked, said agency spokeswoman Sue duPont. On Tuesday, they rescheduled the visit for Oct. 4, she said.

The state's quarantine was imposed in April when an emaciated pig was discovered to be infected with trichinosis, a deadly parasite. The quarantine forbids pigs, dead or alive, from being brought onto or taken off the property.

Yesterday, duPont said, "We were informed that all the swine were removed by somebody."

State agriculture officials who walked the property with Schisler reported seeing only one pig on the property late yesterday afternoon, duPont said.

"We're pursuing all avenues to figure out where [the missing pigs] are," she said.

State veterinarians have discovered that a majority of the pigs found roaming just outside Schisler's farm have trichinosis. All pigs trapped outside the property are being euthanized to prevent public health risks, officials said.

Two weeks ago, Schisler was charged with polluting state waterways and illegally disposing of dead animals. He faces four counts of illegally discharging a pollutant into state waters and four counts of illegally allowing the disposal of solid waste on his farm, according to the state attorney general's office.

Schisler and his son, Carroll L. Schisler Jr., also face 19 criminal counts, including animal cruelty, feeding garbage to swine and selling contaminated meat on the property. The charges stemmed from raids by federal and state investigators in the spring.

A federal judge ordered the Schislers in late July to stop selling butchered livestock on the farm or face fines, imprisonment or the seizure of the property.

gina.davis@baltsun.com

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