Michigan Couple Abandoned Deer Farm During Divorce, More Than 40 Deer Starved To Death

Bay County Police

Yep, lock these suckers up and throw away the key.

According to MLive.com, a couple out of Bay City, Michigan have been accused of starving dozens of deer to death, after they abandoned their deer farm after divorcing.

The former couple is Dale G. Reinhardt, 58, and Pamela A. Reinhardt, 57, who ultimately starved 41 deer to death on their deer farm back in 2021.

Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran shared in court:

“They failed to feed them properly, causing the deer to become emaciated and 36 of the deer died as a result of them being abandoned without proper or adequate care.”

Dale pleaded no contest to one count of abandoning or cruelty to 25 or more animals, and is punishable up to seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

As part of the plea agreement, Bay County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Huber said that Dale should receive a term of court-mandated supervision akin to probation.

If he is successful on this supervision, he will be able to withdraw his plea to the felony charge and replace it with a plea to cruelty to two to three animals, which is a misdemeanor.

He’s also to testify against his ex-wife Pamela in any future court matters, and must pay restitution of $440 or more.

Pamela, who also goes by the name Rytlewski, is still charged with abandoning or cruelty to 10 to 25 animals.

The case dates back to September 28, 2021, when Dale stopped by the Bay County Animal Services and Adoption Center to alert staff that he and his wife were going through a divorce, and were responsible for around 100 deer.

He returned to the shelter on October 7th to tell them he had noticed around six deer had passed away on the property.

Animal Services wrote in a report:

“He wanted us to know they are dying and that something will have to be done. He fed what food he had left but that was a few days ago.

His wife was not caring for them.”

Animal Services and Michigan Department of Natural Resources then went to the Reinhardt’s property, and no one was home.

They wrote what they observed:

“Dead animals could be viewed plainly from the driveway approaching the barn and fenced area. Upon approaching the enclosure approximately 25 dead deer could be seen from the outside of the fence [sic].

The remaining 90-100 deer appeared thin, ribs showing on some, visible hip bones, hair loss, etc.”

Officers got a search warrant and were accompanied by a field veterinarian and a specialist, and returned the next morning, with Pamela at the residence. Officers found 36 dead deer, some rotted to the bone.

While being interviewed, Pamela said that she and her husband were going through a divorce for around two years.

They were still living on the property, but weren’t speaking with each other.

Pamela said they had deer for more than 10 years, but it was her husband who fed them, not her.

The veterinarian said that Pamela needed to get hay and grain for the surviving deer immediately.

They returned to the property on October 11th and saw food for the deer after Pamela said she had bought 20 haybales, and also corn and oats.

However, officers arrived to the scene again on October 15th, and found more dead deer and no food in their feeders, along with very little hay.

Of the 20 haybales Pamela purchased, 17 of them were still in the barn.

An officer wrote:

“Upon entering the enclosure the deer approached officers readily which had not previously been the reaction to our presence.

At this time officers put out 4 bales of hay and 200 lbs (4 bags of oats/corn).”

Officers spoke with the couples’ son, and he said it was his mom’s responsibility to feed them.

On October 22nd, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory noted that the deer died from emaciation.

That same day, Pamela said she had received court authority to liquidate the deer herd and have them shot.

The deer were off the property by January 2022.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock