Monday, July 03, 2006

Horse Owner Convicted in Moving Animals Under Quarantine

People v. Talaske, 2006 Mich. App. LEXIS 1129 (Mich. Ct. App. April 11, 2006)

In this unpublished opinion from Michigan, Talaske, an owner of 14 horses, was convicted of four felony counts of moving animals in violation of a state department of agriculture quarantine. His horses were boarded at a farm where the manager was given written notice of quarantine because the horses had not received tests for equine infections anemia (EIA). Talaske was acting pursuant to an eviction by the owner of the stable at which his horses were boarded, and he removed them the day before the court sitting in the eviction order required him to.

Talaske argued that he was never personally served with a quarantine notice, and that such is a necessary element of the violations he was convicted of. The court disagreed, holding that the statute was unambiguous, and the defendant could not avoid the reach of the statute by reading into it a notice requirement that was not there.

This is a troubling outcome to such a case where an animal owner acting in response to the order of one court runs afoul of another, even though he may have had oral notice of the necessary testing-one suspects that Talaske was between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

The takehome has to be that making absolutely sure you're on solid ground with regulatory authorities is a necessary precondition to moving animals when one is not regularly in that line of business or knowledgeable in the field. A little research can prevent a carload of heartache and bad consequences.

EIA is a serious illness that has substantial adverse health effect potential for equidae. A good resource may be found at the following Utah BLM website.


At 3:25 PM, Blogger Brian said...

The circumstances described are not complete....the alleged quarantine by a MDA worker was an attempt to enforce or coerice an expired EIA Mandatory test requirement for which the penalty was up a $100.00 fine...Using a quarantine threat to coerce expired tests is use of a badge or color of law violations...
according to MI State law quarantines are managed by the MDA with testing by the MDA of all horses within 1/4 mile of a quarantine site, and if the MDA is investigating a complaint or as the MDA worker stated "a Tip" then MDA is required to investigate and collect diagnostic samples for EIA...A quarantine was alleged for a period of three months before the defendant received an eviction notice brought on by the horse property owner thru the county courts..there was no notification or awareness of a quarantine by the property owner in the eviction order or to the tenant- defendant..there was no notification of the defendant of a quarantine in writing, requested by the defendant, and never reported by the MDA worker in a report submitted to the prosecution and at the court trial...
If the MDA issues a quarantine, the MDA is responsible for testing during a quarantine by Law...quarantines are serious actions not to be used to intimidate horses owners..the issue could have been brought to court under a ticket issued by the MDA for expired mandatory tests requirements for which the penalty if a violation was a fine up to $100.00...MDA's response was a pattern by MDA to ignore or usurp legislative Law against EIA testing for horses traveling on MI Public roads and annual testing, and attempting to extend an expired law for a mandatory test requriement...
Horse people questioned MDA practices as did the defendant in this case...
The MDA, county courts, county prosecutors,MI attorney general all ignored laws regarding EIA testing


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