HASTINGS A woman who helped kidnap 31 sheep that were under quarantine pled guilty of transporting an animal under quarantine.
Fifty-four-year-old Suzanne Atkinson, an Ontario Farmer freelance writer, was one of four people charged by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency after the 31 rare Shropshire sheep were taken in April, 2012 at Hastings, about 30 minutes east of Peterborough. The sheep were suspected to have scrapie, a disease that affects the nervous system of the animals. A group calling themselves the Farmers Peace Corps claimed responsibility for the abduction.
The sheep were under quarantine for more than a year, and were missing for three months. The agency later found the sheep and had them destroyed. All tests on the sheep came back negative.
Atkinson will be sentenced Jan. 30.
Three others in the case, 56-year-old farm owner Montana Jones, 60-year-old Michael Schmidt (the raw milk crusader) and 48-year-old Robert Pinnell, still have their cases before the courts. They are charged with transporting an animal under quarantine, conspiracy to commit obstruction of a CFIA inspector, conspiracy to transport or cause to transport an animal under quarantine and conspiracy to defraud the public of a service over $5,000.