Family Told Not to Touch Rotting Deer While Road Commission Delays Removal

Posted at 9:37 PM, May 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-15 08:30:17-04

MONTCALM COUNTY, Mich. (May 14, 2014) – A Montcalm County couple was unable to let their children play outside because of a rotting deer carcass in their front yard.

Ace Moore says the carcass it’s been there since December, and he was told they aren’t allowed to touch it.

Once FOX 17 started looking into who’s responsible for the dead deer on the side of the road, we found more problems and learned there’s a real break in the system when it comes to cleaning up road kill.

“It’s not our number one priority,” Montcalm County Road Commission Superintendent Mark Christensen said. “Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.  That’s probably not a safety concern for the motoring public and that’s what we need to deal with first.”

In most counties, road commissions remove road kill from the side of the road.

“We really don’t think it’s our responsibility, because we don’t get to manage wildlife,” Jerry Byrne of the Kent County Road Commission said. Last year, the Kent County Road Commission spent roughly $100,000 to remove 2,500 deer.  Montcalm County spent $20,000 to remove 1,400.

“So that’s $100,000 a year that’s not filling pot holes, paving roads, cutting trees, cleaning ditches,” Byrne said.

Moore had been calling the Montcalm County Road Commission to remove the unsightly carcass from his front yard. “It stinks so bad, you can’t even walk out the door barely.   I can’t let my kids play out here because of the stench and diseases.”

Christensen says when the crew went to pick up the dead deer in Moore’s yard, they couldn’t find it.  So, Moore says, he offered to take care of it himself.

“They said if I touched it without a permit, it was a felony, and they have just not come out to get it,” Moore said.

Byrne of Kent County says that’s not true. “He can touch it. He just can’t take possession of it to use it as his own. I mean, he can dig a hole and bury it,” Byrne said.

It’s why there’s a bill working its way through Lansing to loosen up laws when it comes to removing road kill.

“They’re trying to make it easier for the public to legally take road kill, use them for their own purposes for meat, feed their families,” Byrne said. “Obviously, it’s a good thing for the road authority, because we’re not going to spend the $40 apiece to pick it up and throw it in the landfill at (the) people’s expense,” Byrne said.

After hearing about Moore’s problem Christensen said the road commission will take care of it immediately.

Christensen says he’ll also be making changes internally to make sure it doesn’t happen again.


Moore posted this on the FOX 17 Facebook page on May 15: “The rotting deer was removed from my yard this morning around 7:30 a.m. as promised by the county’s superintendent of the road commission!!!! Thank you again for your help!!!!!”

05-15-14 Ace Moore facebook post