Part of Turunen case remanded to circuit court

LANSING — Part of case involving a Baraga County swine farmer has been remanded back to Baraga County Circuit Court after a state Court of Appeals ruling Thursday.

In November 2016, Baraga County Circuit Court Judge Charles Goodman ruled the state Department of Natural Resources had not been able to prove the pigs on Roger and Brenda Turunen’s farm were invasive species.

Legal proceedings began in the case in 2012. The DNR has contended eight of 15 pigs on the farm met the standards for Russian boar, which has been classified as an invasive species in the state since 2010. Those pigs exhibited physical traits in common with the boar, such as juvenile striped coat patterns and straight tails.

The DNR appealed Goodman’s ruling, saying the court had erred in finding the animals were legal, and that it lacked jurisdiction to decide the case after the DNR filed for dismissal.

In Thursday’s ruling, the appeals court said the circuit court must make a ruling on the constitutionality of the invasive species order as applied in the Turunen case and shall make a fact-finding on if the order applies to each animal.

The appeals court upheld the circuit court’s decision to voluntarily dismiss the case without prejudice of the DNR’s counterclaim for nuisance abatement.