Between 600 and 700 dead chickens were found illegally dumped in a creek in the Washburn area on Saturday.
David Compton, director of Emergency Management for Barry County, reported the incident was discovered by a property owner on Saturday morning on Farm Road 1085, south of Farm Road 2212.
"The best we can tell, it appears someone backed into the creek and dumped the chickens," Compton said. "Apparently, it was an intentional act."
Barry County Deputy Carl Cosper responded to the scene and immediately recognized the environmental implications and asked dispatchers to contact Compton.
"We worked with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in developing a plan," Compton said. "DNR is good in allowing the county to make decisions. Saturday afternoon on Memorial Day weekend was really bad as far as timing goes."
DNR's nearest responder would have had to come to the scene from Jefferson City then find a local contractor to help. Under such conditions, Compton said clean-up would probably not have been finished until Tuesday.
"Using our emergency management contacts, I got a local business to bring a crew of men out on a Saturday afternoon in nearly 90 degree temperatures to manually remove all the birds," said Compton.
The dumping had taken place in a creekbed so steep that a backhoe could not reach it. Compton said the crew had to literally carry each bird to a dumpster.
"I can't say enough about those men," Compton said. "There was significant odor, significant flies; a significant situation all and all."
The dead birds were transported to another site about 12 miles away on land away from waterways where the birds were put into a compost hole.
"We have no idea where the birds came from," Compton said. "We contacted the company that oversees producers in that area, and we're actively looking for anyone who lost that number of birds."
|Poultry growers have to account for the loss of birds as part of routine operations. The overseeing company will be looking for a major loss that cannot be explained. Compton said reports have been filed by the Barry County Sheriff's Department and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.||"We're looking at fines and possible jail time," Compton said. "There are violations of the Clean Water Act and the Foul Waste Disposal Act and the county has illegal dumping regulations."|