Bill targets people importing animals with wasting disease

white-tailed deer
A white-tailed deer. (Courtesy Thurston De Vos, file)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The House has passed a bill that would increase penalties for bringing animal carcasses with chronic wasting disease into Michigan.

The crime would be a misdemeanor with fines from $500 to $2,000 and a possible 90-day jail sentence. It would be illegal to import infected deer, elk, moose or other animals.

Chronic wasting disease is a contagious neurological disorder that is fatal to animals. The bill was approved Tuesday and now goes to the Senate.

It was sponsored by late state Rep. John Kivela, a Democrat from Marquette who died last week. He was especially concerned about wasting disease spreading to herds in the Upper Peninsula.