Animals

Michigan Farmer Rescued Injured Animals Without the Proper Permits. State Officials Have Charged Her With a Misdemeanor and Euthanized the Animals.

State officials euthanized six of Julie Hall's animals, including Sassy, a blind raccoon, and Po, a one-legged crow.

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For years, Julie Hall has been running a small animal rescue operation without incident on her farm in the northern Michigan town of Petoskey.

That ended in late January when state wildlife officials showed up at her door in response to a complaint that she was taking in animals without the proper permits. Hall has since been charged with a misdemeanor, and six of her animals, including a blind raccoon and a one-legged crow, were confiscated and euthanized by the state.

"I truly did not know I was breaking the law because I had done this all my life, as a farmer, I'd done this," says Hall. "Had I known I was such a criminal, I would have never done it. I'm not built that way."

The state's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says that licensing requirements exist to prevent rescued wild animals from becoming a danger to the community and that it had no choice but to put down the animals collected from Hall's farm.

"We put out press releases every spring saying, do not pick up wildlife, do not keep wildlife, do not take wildlife out of the wild. It's illegal and it's not good for wildlife," said Jim Gorno, an official with DNR, to the Charlevoix Courier in late February. "What happens is the wildlife is raised, sometimes if you let it go, they become a nuisance or even a disease issue here."

Hall has been taking in animals at her family's KeiJu Farm for decades. She candidly admits that she didn't have the required state permission to be a Michigan Licensed Rehabilitator.

Everyone from farmers and friends to members of the community would bring her all sorts of creatures in need of help, she says, from animals injured by hunters to orphaned baby raccoons.

"We have nothing but wildlife up here. We've moved into their homes. It's our responsibility when something like that happens," she says of her animal rescue work.

Hall, assisted by a crew of volunteers, would do what she could to nurse the animals brought to her back to health so that they could be released back into the wild. Animals that came to her as babies were taught to fish, hunt, and fend for themselves before being let go, she says.

Those animals with more serious disabilities—or which failed to pass tests showing they would be able to survive in the wild—she kept around permanently alongside her domesticated goats, chickens, and alpacas.

"I'm not a fool. I know exactly how this works. I've read articles, books. I've done this all my life," she says.

The crackdown on her rescue operation, Hall says, came after a disgruntled volunteer—who she had let go for stealing—complained to a number of state agencies about her farm.

A few of these agencies conducted uneventful site visits in response to those complaints. Officials from the state's Department of Agriculture showed up, she says, but left after finding no violations and helping her move some hay around.

Things went differently when DNR officials showed up at her farm on January 28.

"Four DNR vehicles pulled into my driveway like SWAT," Hall says. "I think they were expecting me to be erratic. I calmly and quietly took them to the enclosures where the animals were."

What followed was a traumatizing experience for Hall. DNR officials went around scooping up the unpermitted wild animals she was keeping on her farm, including Sassy, a blind raccoon, and several Canadian geese who'd been wounded by hunters and had been living on Hall's farm for a few years.

"Sassy didn't want to move for nothing," recalls Hall. "She didn't want to come. She could sense something was wrong."

A deer that Hall had taken in as a fawn was euthanized that day on the farm. DNR officials gave the animal two injections, one to put it to sleep, and then another to put it down.

"It was so horrible," says Hall, tearing up. "I couldn't fix anything."

The Charlevoix Courier reports that six animals in total were eventually euthanized by DNR. Hall was charged with holding wild animals in captivity without a permit, a misdemeanor offense.

Hall is currently working to get the necessary permits to restart her rescue operation. But that effort could be derailed if she is convicted. She says that she intends to fight the charge, and that a court hearing is set for March.

Hall is clearly rankled that her rescue work has become a legal issue. "If you love and care for an animal," she says, "it's against the law."

NEXT: Elizabeth Warren Still Wants a Wealth Tax. It Still Won't Work.

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  1. Hi I’m changing my handle

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  2. Reason might wanna close this old one. I decided to go with the abbreviation. Less spammy. Looks less like sqrlsy and other psychotics.

    1. sorry about that double post

      1. Never apologize. It makes you look weak.

        1. Said the internet tough guy.

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  3. We put out press releases every spring saying, do not pick up wildlife, do not keep wildlife, do not take wildlife out of the wild.

    WHY DID YOU MAKE US DO THIS?

  4. She should have deeded the farm to those animals so they would have more rights

    https://reason.com/volokh/2021/02/28/wildlife-as-property-owners-webinar/

  5. >>in response to a complaint

    who’s the christ what an asshole?

    1. 1. “The crackdown on her rescue operation, Hall says, came after a disgruntled volunteer—who she had let go for stealing—complained to a number of state agencies about her farm.”

      2. The DNR; of any State [in this case, Michigan]

      1. special level in Hades for the volunteer-thief-animal-hater lol

      2. The DNR in Michigan are almost universally pricks. I was camping on a designated backcountry site in the UP with a permit already paid to the State Forest system for it. No trash available, so we went to a nearby state forest campground to properly dispose of it. The DNR saw us, and was going to give us a $250 ticket. They didn’t have a good answer when we asked them if we were expected to take our trash back over the Mackinaw Bridge. They let us pay for a vacant campsite for the night instead of giving us a ticket.

      3. DNR are trigger happy. They dont stand for animal rights. Julie knew for years she needed permits,so this just didnt happen. Had she truly cared about these animals she would have followed the laws. Thus the animals might still be here. Her heart is good but the law has no heart and for them to condone this type of place would encourage others. Leading to diseases that could spread outside her facility. I hope she does the right thing and if they let her,be a much needed rehab here in Northern Michigan.

    2. Karen. She sits at home while her school remains closed. With all that free time, Karen’s gonna Karen.

    3. rtfa

      1. Ready the frog artillery!

      2. dyslexic spells fart?

        1. read the fucking article

          1. That’s inaccurate. It’s about armed amphibians.

            1. Wait, are the amphibians not the ammunition in frog artillery?

              1. I thought about that at first, but I don’t want that. Makes me sad.

                1. At least not without the proper permits.

              2. The best defense against bad frog artillery is good frog artillery

            2. Who are these fucking government stooges to play God and determine what animal lives or dies? I’m sure if the raccoon could talk he would rather live blind then be dead…motherfuckers!

          2. so you’re the christ what an asshole.

            everybody knows what rtfa means dude.

            1. Like you’re one to talk.

              1. lol are you mad at the other guy who uses my name? I thought we were cool

                1. *snort*

                2. Why would an imposter use your handle in an effort to discredit you?

                  You’re nobody.

                  1. oh you’re literally mad at me cute. no more phish reminiscing with you, bro lol.

                    1. No, I’m just sick of dishonest people pretending to be cool and then calling me a drunken pedophile.

                    2. Know what? If you were Tulpa’d then I’m honestly sorry. But at this point it’s so hard to tell.

                    3. I have *never* called you or anyone else here anything but dude or bro. ever.

                    4. Alright. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

                    5. I’ve never called you a pedophile!

      3. Really tired of fucking assholes?

    4. A retired producer from the Detroit NPR station who moved out to the country to get away from it all and live the simple life.

    5. Seriously. What an asshole!

      But why can’t officials ever just tell these tattletales to just mind their own business? Oh wait, because that would actually mean giving up a chance to use (and abuse) their power. Silly me.

      1. Instead of euthanizing the animals, why not expedite a license instead?

    6. Dunno, but whoever they are, I hope they die in a fire.

  6. Did she get to keep the deer and goose meat?

    1. You can’t use the meat after an animal euthanized that way. It’s contaminated and unsafe for consumption. So, yeah, those boneheaded regulators did everything in just about the most wasteful, harmful and generally worst possible way.

  7. If she was a cop she could have used ignorance of the law as an excuse and nothing else would have happened.

    By the way, has anyone heard from Mens Rea? She went missing a few decades ago.

    1. She was trafficked by a Russian agent to certain unnamed persons in an unnamed coastal city under the control of an unspecified political party, and will be the fourth to accuse a politician if she can avoid certain suicide.

      1. Exogenous suicide.

      2. Found dead in a locked room next to Irony’s body. Police are still investigating whether it was a murder-suicide or just a tragic accident.

    2. I veliev it is wo-mens rea now

      1. Or in Portland, womxns rea.

  8. These are the same people who claim they want to protect your children.

    1. You don’t have the proper permits? I’m afraid we’ll have to euthanize them…

      1. You joke, but is that really that far fetched? They’re doing it in China now, and quite a few western politicians want things here to be more like China.

        1. citation?


  9. “We put out press releases every spring saying, do not pick up wildlife, do not keep wildlife, do not take wildlife out of the wild. It’s illegal and it’s not good for wildlife,”


    six of her animals, including a blind raccoon and a one-legged crow, were confiscated and euthanized by the state.

    So, if it isn’t true they’ll make it true. I imagine the blind raccoon and one-legged crow were better off not being dead.


    1. The crackdown on her rescue operation, Hall says, came after a disgruntled volunteer—who she had let go for stealing—complained to a number of state agencies about her farm.

      Admittedly this is from the source, but yeah I think I found a ‘volunteer’ who knows the process is a punishment that any yahoo with a grudge can wield without a downside to them.

    2. How do you think she could possibly take care of these animals without proper paperwork and permission from the government?

    3. The animals aren’t meant for captivity and there’s no chance they could be released and not suffer a horrible death to predators. Euthanasia is the only humane option.

      1. She was caring for them, so I’d say that they were better meant for captivity than death. So you’re all ” Born free, and free to remain,” as long as it allows you to.justify.the actions of the state. You’re a peach of a human being.

        1. If a lunatic comes along and abducts a child, then raises the child in captivity, what conditions would make it acceptable?

          Providing food, attention, and medical care makes it right? If the cage is nicely decorated, is that caring?

          What this woman is doing is wrong. These animals can’t be released, will always be dependent, are captives, and aren’t evolved to live with a human. They’re suffering because they’re not free.

          She thinks she’s helping the animals, but like the lunatic, she’s causing suffering.

  10. I don’t like most government organization but most will work with you so I think there may have been a lot of stalling on the owners part. probably more to the story than they just showed up.

    1. “but most will work with you”

      In my experience petty tyrants don’t work with anyone who doesn’t genuflect on command.

    2. “Four DNR vehicles pulled into my driveway like SWAT”

      These are not the kind of people who “work with you.”

      1. “Work ON you,” definitely.

    3. I’ve worked with the environmental agencies long enough to believe it. Once, there was a long lecture where they were endlessly self-congratulating on shutting down an “illegal” recycling operation that was directly processing waste from one plant at a neighboring plant without ever leaving the pipes and with no increased waste or emissions whatsoever. I had to really bite my tongue to prevent myself from asking why they hated the environment so much that they would so massively increase waste because someone didn’t file a registration.

  11. Why didn’t they punch her disabled kid, too?

    1. She must not have a dog either. I’m sure that made things worse.

    2. I’m sure if they’d thought of.it…

  12. Time to bring back tar and feathers.

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  14. KeiJu Farm

    Of course they put down the baby deer and the blind racoon and left the 70-story tall, radioactive lizard monster for the bureaucrats to handle, because even DNR agents deserve to go home safe to their families at night.

  15. If you don’t think this “we know better than you and that’s why these seizures are okay” logic will be applied to human beings in the future…you better start preparing. One day we’ll see a Department of Human Services confiscating children for being taught incorrectly in the eyes of the State.

  16. That governor of theirs is one cold hearted bitch.

    1. Um…the correct way to address her is to raise your right arm and exclaim “Heil Whitmer!” But it’s because she cares about us and she says “science” and “data” a lot.

  17. “The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.” ~Robert Higgs

    1. (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.

      Don’t forget the fact that any cop who objects to abuse of power by his peers will need to find a new profession.

  18. several Canadian geese
    reason still soft on border-jumping illegals

    Britches, you’re less bad than most editors, contributors and reporters here but they’re fucking called CANADA GEESE.

    1. “Canada Gooses are majestics, barrel-chested, the everys of all ornithologies.”
      “they are leaders, born and bred leaders.”
      “Canada Gooses are van fucking guard.”
      “Avant fucking gard.”
      “Guardians of the fucking galaxy”
      “You wanna know what, if you’ve got a problem with Canada Gooses, you got a problem with me, and I suggest let that one marinate.”

  19. The crackdown on her rescue operation, Hall says, came after a disgruntled volunteer—who she had let go for stealing—complained to a number of state agencies about her farm.

    Thieves deserve a bullet. This person deserves several.

    1. Whatever happened to Snitches get stitiches?

  20. Having the proper permits is important. Rehabbing wild animals is not easy and requires the proper training and continuing education to ensure the proper care of the animals. There are also many pathogens that need proper training to control to make sure there is not an outbreak. If she was un-permitted, then she was also outside the network of rehabilitators that provide support and guidance. Animals are commonly made to suffer due to improper rehabilitation. I do not believe for a minute that she was unaware of the permit requirements.
    I do feel sad for the animals.

    1. Having the proper permits is important. Rehabbing wild animals is not easy and requires the proper training and continuing education to ensure the proper care of the animals.

      Having the proper training is important. Assuming the proper permits denote the proper training and the lack of proper permits denote a lack of proper training is making an unwarranted assumption.

      1. Working with an established rehabber, taking classes, having your facility inspected, and continuing education is part of the permitting process. Having a permit also allows you to have support and guidance from the state offices, and other rehabbers. This person was flying solo.

        1. She was also successful at rehabilitating animals. Slaver.

        2. Yeah, having a network is important for caregivers who need to take a day off or just drop dead one day.

          Caregivers should never work in isolation, because they never know what the next day could bring.

    2. LOL. The Dictatorship of the Experts. She probably knows more about those animals than all those DNR losers put together.

      1. Uh no. DNR officers all have degrees in wildlife management, and many have done internships in rehab facilities. And getting a DNR job is quite competitive. She also claims ignorance of the basics of wildlife law.

        1. She’s been doing this all her life, lived in the area all her life, and she looks like she’s in her 50s. Does experience mean nothing to you? Do you really think she can’t identify a diseased animal? Know when an animal is suited to be released into the wild? Screw you leftists and your credential idolatry.

        2. Meanwhile she’s only been actually doing it for decades.

        3. Exactly. Just like the uncredentialed Jane Jacobs thought she was competent to disagree with all the experts with multiple degrees in urban planning.

          1. Yeah. Jane Jacobs was an activist who stopped a proposed expressway that would have plowed through her Greenwich Village neighborhood and would have made it easier for New Yorkers to get out of New York and infect the rest of the country. She did all of us a service.

        4. Ah, so they are trained to gratuitously kill animals on private property who weren’t bothering anyone. Are their superiors trained to kill people who balk at being taxed to subsidize this bloodthirsty bureaucracy of bullies? Tell us, o sockpuppet.

    3. She and the DNR both deprived free predators and carrion eaters of delicious sustenance.

  21. Wildlife regulations like this have always bugged me. If it’s not endangered, who fucking cares? Even disease spread concerns ring hollow. It’s not like she was running a Tiger King-style fiasco.

    No victim, no crime.

    1. Disease spread in rehab facilitates is real and can be very destructive and lead to much suffering.

      1. Nothing to end suffering like a chemical injection to kill the sufferer, right? Please.

        1. If you have ever had to watch two dozen raccoons go down due to Parvovirus, or watch birds suffer from West Nile, then you will understand the need for proper pathogen control.

          1. So, you used to work at a racoon farm? An aviary? Or did you watch these animals succumb to these diseases in the wild? How humane of you to stand by and watch them die.

            I’d say your expertise was illegitimately come by but that’s just a polite way of saying youre full of shit and I don’t care. You’re full of shit.

            1. Wildlife rehab facility. West Nile can be treated some of the time, and with Parvovirus you need to be extra clean and separate all the animals.

              1. So even in a fully credentialed rehab facility you had west Nile outbreaks? Where she had none. It sounds like you should listen to what she has to say

                1. LOL

          2. Wait a minute, aren’t we Covid policy skeptics here? Yet it is now the proper role of government to keep viruses from spreading amongst raccoons?

            What she’s really doing is messing with the king’s deer, and the kings monopoly on licensing agents to grant permits on said deer.

            Also, the woman has been doing this her whole life. And the animals seem like extreme cases that couldn’t make it in the wild. Barring some massive missing information, the cruelty tag doesn’t fly.

          3. If thine eye offendeth thee, go invade someone’s property and kill a blind raccoon. THAT’s courage… THAT’s altruism!

            1. Remember what the Bible says: He who is without sin, cast the first rock. And I shall smoketh it!

              -Tyrone Biggums

    2. Even disease spread concerns ring hollow.

      Especially among indigenous and singular animals. The animals shouldn’t have any exotic diseases and, even if they do, are effectively quarantined.

      1. If the person was not following proper precautions then one has no idea what those animals were exposed to.

        1. Apparently they were subject to life sustaining food and care until the DNR showed up.

          1. In this case, it appears that “DNR” means “do not resuscitate.”

        2. Stop it. You know she was following reasonable precautions. Your objection is that she did not tick all the state mandated boxes like a good and obedient subject, instead relying on her decades of experience.

      1. Ah, a man of culture, I see.

  22. All I can say about this is ” No good deed will go unpunished if you don’t have the proper permit.

  23. When you euthanize the blind raccoon and the one-legged crow instead of simply re-wilding / releasing them, you deprive some poor predator of a meal that nature would otherwise have granted them. (I’m not happy with this thought, but it did occur to me.)

    1. There are strict rules, based on animal welfare and preventing pathogen transmission that would prevent releasing them. The animals would likely starve and suffer in the wild. I am not sure why they were not placed with another rehabber, but my best guess is that there were none that could take them. There are always more animals available then facilities to place them. Also they would have to be quarantined.

      1. preventing pathogen transmission

        Bullshit. It’s not the DNR’s mandate to absolutely prevent any and all disease transmission and, even if it were, it’s nowhere near within their capability. Otherwise, they should go around liquidating all manner of rabid coyote, opossum, bat, racoon, etc., etc. Not to mention white nose fungus in bats. West Nile in all manner of birds. All manner of invasive pests, fish, and plant life… They can’t even hold their own against dutch elm disease, asian carp, african honeybees, and asian beetles. To act like they’re saving racoons from parvovirus by killing a domesticated racoon, which likely has been living in captivity symptom-free longer than it would take the disease to kill it in the wild, isn’t even dumb.

      2. Now there’s one fewer, and you couldn’t be happier.

      3. A lover of more government. Especially when it is directed at someone else.

      4. There. Ve haff STRICT rrrools, it drools, and that settles the matter by deductive logic. Nothing ad baculum about that. Is Reason hiring these nationalsocialists to spew here in order to impress upon subscribers that we are surrounded by violent hordes of aggressors with no desires whatsoever other than to threaten, maim and kill?

  24. Maybe Whitler’s husband lacked the proper permit to marry her and they will have to put her down.

  25. Government at its worst. What a waste of taxpayer money and now a PR debacle to boot. So many ways this could have been handled more reasonably.

    1. My thought exactly. If she needed a license, it could have been approached from that avenue rather than rushing in “like a SWAT team” and enthusiastically euthanizing the animals in order to set an example of what happens when you don’t follow the rules. Also could have been an opportunity for public education as to how and why you should or should not interact with wild animals, but instead the DNR took its usual course to be as big an asshole as possible.

  26. Without government, who would punish those who heal injured animals?

  27. When I was young, I read “Rascal,” by Sterling North, a bestseller upon its publication in 1963. It was the heartwarming story about how, when the author was a boy (during World War I), he had captured a baby racoon (presumably orphaned) and raised it up to adulthood, at which point he released it back to the wild. Little did I realize that the responsible thing for North and his family to do would have been to leave the baby racoon to die, unless they could find a properly trained and credentialed expert to rehabilitate the animal.

  28. Further proof, government is the problem, not the solution……

  29. To the delightful prank of SWATing we now add the general proposition that “snitchin’ is bitchin'” now popularized by Tatsuya Ishida at Sinfest.
    Note to foreign readers: to SWAT is to call the Special Weapons and Tactics Gestapo and say your neighbor is kidnapping children. SWAT shows up, breaks the door, kills everyone, finds out it was at the wrong address and breaks and kills some more people nearby.

  30. She probably read “Dr. Dolittle” as a kid. That book needs to join Dr. Seuss and be banned!

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