Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Another case of CWD found

Millersburg, Ohio — A Millersburg, Ohio, deer farm owner has been ordered to destroy a second captive deer herd after tests on a dead white-tailed deer from one of Daniel Yoder’s two breeding farms was confirmed positive for contagious fatal chronic wasting disease.

It is the second confirmed case of CWD in Ohio and the second such case among deer owned by Yoder. 

Yoder, 40, already has been ordered to destroy a deer herd quarantined at his high-fence Worldclass Whitetails hunting preserve after a deer tested positive for CWD in October 2014.

On Oct. 23, the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced samples taken from a whitetail buck at Yoder’s hunting preserve tested positive for CWD, the first such case in Ohio.

Both herds are estimated between 400 and 500 deer, according to ODA spokeswoman Ericka Hawkins.

After the second CWD case was detected March 27 by the ODA and confirmed March 31 by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, ODA Director David Daniels notified Yoder in writing that the quarantined captive deer herd at his Daniel Weaver Farm in Holmesville, Ohio, will be destroyed under the supervision of the ODA.

Destruction of Yoder’s deer is necessary to prevent the spread of the disease, the ODA said in its order.

The ODA quarantined the breeding farm on June 5, 2014, for suspected exposure to CWD. The quarantine bans the movement of deer in or out of the farm and requires testing for CWD on all deer that die over 12 months of age.

State Veterinarian Tony Forshey informed Yoder by letter that destruction of the second deer herd was necesary because “all whitetail deer at (Dan Weaver Farm) have been exposed to a dangerously infectious disease, and, therefore, endanger the health or well-being of animal populations in the state of Ohio.”

Forshey warned Yoder that anyone who destroys deer in violation of the ODA destruction order can be found guilty of a fourth-degree misdemeanor crime.

Yoder’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

In a related case, a Holmes County judge ruled there was enough evidence presented at a preliminary hearing Feb. 18 to have a grand jury review criminal charges filed against Yoder.

Yoder and his business, World Class Whitetails of Ohio, were charged in a criminal complaint filed by Ohio Department of Agriculture investigator William Lesho of four counts of tampering with evidence. Each charge carries a possible penalty of up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Lesho testified on Oct. 24 that a client from Indiana shot a buck with “a nice rack,” but told Yoder he was concerned the deer appeared “unhealthy.”

Lesho stated Yoder instructed an employee in “Pennsylvania Dutch” to remove the buck’s rack and give the antlers to the client along with some other deer meat retrieved from a freezer. A skinned doe head was placed into a sealed bag with the tag from the harvested buck. The client’s harvested buck carcass was thrown away, Lesho testified.

As to a tampering charge alleged to have occurred on Nov. 21, Lesho testified three clients from West Virginia harvested three bucks and took them to West Virginia without being tested for CWD. At the time, the hunting preserve was under quarantine, which restricted movement of deer on and off the premises.

The charges resulted from a two-month criminal investigation  of Yoder’s hunting preserve, where the ODA learned his deer may have been exposed to fatal chronic wasting disease from deer coming into Ohio from infected herds in Pennsylvania.

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