Raleigh, N.C. — Wildlife officials say tissue samples from nine deer killed by North Carolina wildlife officers on a farm in Randolph County have tested negative for chronic wasting disease.
Seven fallow deer and two white-tailed deer were killed Sept. 20 in a pen on Wayne Kindley's farm. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Executive Director Gordon Myers said the deer had to be killed so they could be tested for CWD, which he said can be done only on dead animals.
"Had these test results been positive, it would have presented significant biological, economical and sociological impacts throughout North Carolina," Myers said. "Captive deer of unknown origin pose a serious risk to the health of all deer within our state. We were very lucky in this situation."
The fatal and debilitating disease has been found in deer in 19 states, although not in North Carolina.
The Kindleys' attorney, Matthew Altamura, has said the search warrant didn't authorize wildlife officers to kill the deer and didn't mention chronic wasting disease. The warrant, he said, limited the officers to seizing and holding the animals until further order of the court.
Kindley said he kept the animals because the fallow deer shed antlers that he used to make chandeliers and lamps.
Wildlife officers said Kindley was warned about not having the proper permit to keep captive deer. He did apply but did not get the license, according to Altamura, who declined to elaborate.
Kindley has been charged with holding deer in captivity without the proper license, which is punishable by a $10 fine. He will have his case heard before a judge in Asheboro on Oct. 25.
Since the deer were shot, the Kindleys' neighbors and people they've never met have rallied to their cause. More than 7,000 people from at least 25 countries had signed a petition on the website change.org. Supporters also came to a meeting of the wildlife commission in Raleigh on Oct. 13 but weren't allowed to speak. They presented a petition with 2,000 names.