Judges rap canned hunts
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2005:
The Tennessee Court of Appeals in Nashville on May 3 upheld
the 1991 state ban on private possession of white-tailed deer. Game
ranchers first brought the law before the Tennessee Court of Appeals
in 1997, lost, and tried again with different arguments in 1999 and
District Judge Dorothy McCarter, of Helena, Montana, on
May 2, 2005 ruled that Initiative 143, which in 2000 outlawed game
farming, was not an illegal “taking” of private property. Her
verdict paralleled the February 12 reasoning of District Judge David
Rice, of Havre, in a parallel case.
Deer rancher Russell G. Bellar, of Peru, Indiana, in early
May pleaded guilty to three of 38 federal charges filed against him,
including 35 counts of illegal interstate commerce in wildlife. U.S.
District Judge Allen Sharp assessed financial penalties against
Bellar totaling $570,000 in fines, restitution, and court costs,
and sentenced him to serve 366 days in prison. “Clients would often
pay thousands of dollars to shoot specific deer, sometimes in smaller
pens, sometimes over bait,” reported Rebecca S. Green of the Fort
Wayne Journal Gazette. “In some cases, the deer had been drugged.
Clients included Ronnie Dunn, of the country music duo Brooks &
Dunn, and ESPN host Jimmy Houston,” Green added.
Kris Kenneth Johnson, 44, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in early
May was assessed $8,535 in fines and restitution by Michigan 93rd
District Court Judge Mark Luoma for illegally keeping elk, exotic
deer, and state-owned wild deer within an unlicensed 10-acre fenced