Pigs found at quarantined farm

State officials discover 11 swine, but dozens more are missing and may be diseased

October 07, 2006|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,Sun Reporter

State agriculture officials found nearly a dozen pigs yesterday on a western Carroll County farm that has been under quarantine, but they said they don't know whether these swine are among the more than 100 that have been missing since last month.

Officials went to the 112-acre farm in Marston to investigate reports that pigs had been seen on the property and found 10 feral pigs in addition to a piglet, according to a state Agriculture Department statement released late yesterday.

They also found a dead pig that appeared to have been struck by a car.

Roland Walker, attorney for the farm's owner, Carroll L. Schisler Sr., 60, said last night that he was unaware of the Agriculture Department's visit to the property yesterday and that he couldn't be sure whether these were some of the missing swine.

"I was never quite clear whether the 104 [missing pigs] represented all the pigs he had on the farm," Walker said.

The 10 adult pigs were euthanized and will be tested for diseases such as trichinosis and toxoplasmosis, agriculture officials said.

The piglet, which because of its size was considered unlikely to be diseased, was given to local animal control officials.

"It is a high priority of county, state, and U.S. animal, human and environmental health agencies to learn what happened to the pigs to keep the meat out of the food supply," officials said in yesterday's statement.

Five pigs trapped this summer outside the farm tested positive for trichinosis, a potentially fatal disease caused by a parasitic worm.

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

An additional pig that was confiscated from the farm tested negative for trichinosis and toxoplasmosis.

The state's quarantine was imposed in April when an emaciated pig was found to be infected with trichinosis.

The quarantine forbids pigs, dead or alive, from being brought onto or taken off the property.

Schisler Sr. and his son, Carroll Jr., 34, who manages the farm, are facing dozens of charges ranging from animal cruelty to selling contaminated meat.

State agriculture officials recently issued a health alert to state veterinarians in 11 states -- Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and New Jersey -- because of concerns that the pigs remain missing.

gina.davis@baltsun.com

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