A Michigan man has accepted a plea deal in a case where he and his former wife are accused of starving nearly 40 deer to death. According to reports, 58-year-old Dale G. Reinhardt pleads guilty to the felony changes in front of a Bay County Judge on Monday. The reports note that Reinhardt pleaded no contest to one count of abandoning or cruelty to 25 or more animals. The Michigan man faces up to seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Officials reveal that Reinhardt and his ex-wife Pamela A. Reinhardt were jointly caring for a herd of deer between September and October 2021. However, officials note, the couple failed to feed the animals properly. This caused the dear to become emaciated reports note. And 36 of the animals died as a result of “being abandoned without proper or adequate care.”
The Dead Deer Could Be Seen “Plainly From The Driveway”
Animal Services received reports from Reinhardt for several days that the deer were not receiving adequate care. Reinhardt later returned to animal services noting that as many as six of the animals had expired.
When officials made it onto the Reinhardt’s property they quickly found the deer within an enclosure. And, the reports note, the dead dear could be seen from the driveway.
“Dead animals could be viewed plainly from the driveway approaching the barn and fenced area,” notes the Animal Services officer.
“Upon approaching the enclosure approximately 25 dead deer could be seen from the outside of the fence [sic],” the report continues. “The remaining 90-100 deer appeared thin, ribs showing on some, visible hip bones, hair loss, etc.”
Overall, officers found 36 dead deer on the Reinhardt’s property. Some of these deer, officials say, were rotted to their bones. Three of the deer carcasses were sent on for necropsies.
Officers Returned To The Area After The Initial Visits
According to Pamela Reinhardt, the couple had the deer for more than 10 years. However, she notes, feeding the deer was her husband’s responsibility. According to the woman she was not aware that he was no longer feeding the animals. Pamela was instructed to get hay and grain for the deer immediately.
When officials returned to the property a few days later, they found the carcasses buried and food available for the surviving animals. However, less than a week later, officials found five more dead deer and no food in the feeders yet again.
“Upon entering the enclosure the deer approached officers readily,” a report explains.
“Which had not previously been the reaction to our presence,” the statement adds. “At this time officers put out 4 bales of hay and 200 lbs (4 bags of oats/corn).”