ANN ARBOR, MI – The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for intentionally driving over a family of Trumpeter Swans in Lodi Township.
A family of swans, including one adult and four babies, were reported dead around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. They were found near a pond, numerous feet off the side of the road, near the intersection of Parker and Scio Church roads.
Law enforcement personnel examining the evidence believe the swans were intentionally run over. Based on tire track markings, experts suggest the vehicle was a Jeep or pick-up truck with 18-20 inch all terrain tires. Based upon witness information provided to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department, the swans were probably hit sometime between 7:15 and 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
In addition to animal cruelty, because Trumpeter Swans are classified as a threatened species protected in the state of Michigan, HSHV together with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) are conducting a joint investigation.
“It was a very gruesome scene. Parent and babies all dead. Accidents happen, but this looks like intentional cruelty. It’s horrible what people sometimes do to animals, and we see it too often here. People who live in that area and drive that road everyday are heartbroken. The swans have been a part of their community for years; they enjoy their grace and beauty and watch them raise their babies,” says HSHV Animal Cruelty Investigator Aaron Soyring.
“A single swan now is alone in the pond,” says Soyring.
Adult pairs of Trumpeter swans often mate for life and generally have very strong family bonds.
“Whether our companion animals or wildlife, all animals have feelings and deserve our respect and empathy. There is just no excuse for this cruel act,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, President and CEO of HSHV.
“We know there is a strong link between human violence and violence against animals. It is important we find out who did this not just because of what they did to this family of swans and the people who cared about them, but also for the safety of the community,” says Hilgendorf.
“Intentional abuse and torture” of four or more animals is a felony in Michigan and can include up to two years in prison in addition to other fines and penalties.
The $1,000 reward is made possible by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
HSHV asks that anyone with information please call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s tip line at (734) 973-7711 or HSHV’s 24-hour animal cruelty hotline at (734) 661-3512.