The battle against Chronic Wasting Disease continues in Southeast Iowa.
After deer at the Pine Ridge Hunting Preserve in Davis County tested positive for CWD, the area was supposed to be quarantined to prevent it from being spread further. Even though the animals are now gone from the area, it's been brought to light that the gates to the facility have been left open, sometimes chained open, supposedly by the landowner, which raises the risk of CWD being spread into the surrounding area.
"This is just appalling because you have a highly contaminated area that is quarantined to prevent the spread of a highly contagious disease to the wild herd and here you have the gates of a contaminated facility - a quarantined contaminated facility - open," said State Representative Curt Hanson. "In my opinion, that's just irresponsible."
If the disease spreads into the wild herd, it could have a detrimental domino effect -- not just on the deer population, but on Iowa's hunting economy.
"Right now, it's only in the captive herd, we do not wish to have this spread to the wild herd," Hanson said. "There would be very large consequences, many of them economic."
"It would have quite an effect upon our hunting in the state and the amount of revenue and things that the DNR brings in from the hunters to come into the state of Iowa," said State Representative Mary Gaskill. "[Getting] their deer license and people will quit hunting if they're fearful that they're not getting good deer."
Hanson said he was not offered an explanation as to why the gates were left open, but both he and Gaskill are working with the DNR and the Attorney General's Office to remedy the situation.
The Attorney General's Office will hopefully be looking into legal options to protect neighbors and residents near the facility.
Hanson said, ideally, the DNR will check in on the reserve periodically to make sure the quarantine is being executed correctly.