Fruitport man charged for killing mute swan

A Fruitport man accused of killing a swan with his personal watercraft said it was an accident, but dozens of witnesses disagree. "Everybody saw it wasn't an accident,' said Jennifer Ransom, who witnessed the incident from Pomona Park in Fruitport. "It was completely intentional.' "According to numerous witnesses, this incident did not have to happen,' Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said. Timothy Graves ll, 23, has been charged with unlawfully taking a protected animal.
Jun 3, 2011


“There is a DNR law that does not allow the killing of a swan,” Tague said.

The swan was killed on Memorial Day, when thousands of people were in Pomona Park for Fruitport’s Old Fashioned Days festival. Witnesses said Graves was tormenting the swans.

“For four or five hours, going around them,” Ransom said. “Wherever they would go, he went.”

When the male swan reared up and flapped his wings, witnesses said the personal watercraft rider took aim and ran over the bird. “He ran him over, and went back and proceeded to run over him again,” Ransom said.

If convicted on the misdemeanor charge, Graves faces fines and a possible 90-day jail sentence.

“The swans were protecting their babies and, unfortunately, one of them ended up being killed,” Tague said.

The dead swan is a mute swan — a variety the Michigan Department of Natural Resources calls a “nuisance” species. There is a plan to drastically reduce their population in Michigan, but they can’t be killed without permission.


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