FREEDOM TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Donations are boosting the reward offered for information about the deaths of a family of trumpeter swans along a Michigan road.
The Humane Society of Huron Valley last week announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Washtenaw County case. This week, the Humane Society said donations from citizens increased the reward to $2,500.
The sheriff’s office says the five swans were struck sometime between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Aug. 10, that ran off the right side of the road and close to a pond’s edge. They were found dead by an area resident at around 6:20 a.m. at the corner of Parker and Scio Church Road in Freedom Township, near Ann Arbor. (Initially, police said it was likely someone ran over the swans between 7:15 a.m. and 8 a.m. Wednesday).
Investigators say it appears someone deliberately run over the swans, which are a threatened species native to Michigan.
Authorities suspect they were hit by a Jeep or pickup truck, based on tracks at the scene; and a witness reported to deputies that an older-model pickup truck with a yellow light on top was seen in that area — possibly a Ford — facing the wrong direction on the west side of the roadway.
If the suspect is identified and found to have intentionally killed the family of birds — including one adult and four babies — he or she would face a misdemeanor charge punishable by 90 days in jail and a fine, according to Andrew Turner, an officer in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources law enforcement division, who spoke with MLive.
Social media has been abuzz all week with residents across the state responding to this story. Commenting on a photo showing one surviving swan alone by the pond, many expressed sympathy.
Char Danborn wrote: “So sad! It breaks my heart! I wish they could move him somewhere where he could be with other swans. So lonely.”
Lisa Kureth Weasel added: “I drove by him the other day and I bawled. It hit me to my core. He looked so bewildered and confused and it made me so sad for him and soooo pissed that someone could destroy his family so carelessly. I hope they catch the bastard soon.”
Anyone who may know the driver of the vehicle described or who has any information about this incident is asked to call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 734-973-7711 or the human society’s 24-hour animal cruelty hotline at 734-661-3512.
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