Guilty Pleas Reached in Cases Involving Wild Hogs
NASHVILLE --- A pair of guilty pleas have been made in cases involving numerous charges with wild hogs in Moore and Lewis counties in Middle Tennessee.
Dr. Stacy Smith, of Lynchburg, pled guilty to 16 counts of illegal possession of wildlife. He also pled guilty to failure to use an approved source, failure to maintain records for a preserve, violation of a quarantine order, and criminal conspiracy. The veterinarian received a total of $4,944 in fines and court costs.
Timothy Chapman, of Mt. Pleasant pled guilty to seven counts of illegal possession of wildlife. He received fines and courts costs totaling $1,654 and loss of his hunting and trapping privileges for one year.
The cases involved a joint effort from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency special investigation unit, wildlife officers from TWRA Region II & III, Moore County District Attorney, Lewis County District Attorney, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
The Smith case was settled Aug. 7, while the Chapman plea agreement was made Sept. 17. The announcement comes as a reward program has now been established for information leading to a conviction of persons dealing in the sale, illegal transportation and/or stocking of wild hogs. A reward of $3,500 is now in effect and made possible by contributions from TWRA, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, and the Tennessee Ornithological Society.
Wild hogs cause extensive damage to farm crops, wildlife habitat, contribute to extreme erosion and stream pollution, and carry diseases harmful to livestock or other animals as well as humans.
A primary reason for wild hogs rapid spread is illegal movement by those who wish to establish hog populations for hunting in areas that may have little or no wild hog populations. Illegal transport and release is the leading contributing factor in the spread of wild hogs.
The TWRA is among the more than 20 entities from both private sector organizations and state government agencies that have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to work cooperatively in regard to wild hogs. The partnership between the private sector and state agencies is working jointly to create and implement outreach tools to effectively disseminate information to the public, defining the problems associated with wild hogs in Tennessee and how the parties are working cooperatively to help landowners combat the problems associated with wild hogs.