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Vandals target Jackson County bird sanctuary: Bird houses destroyed, property damaged

Posted: 12:48 PM, Aug 10, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-10 12:48:37-04

With rolling hills, the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary northeast of Jackson is 1,000 acres of peace and serenity.

"We love this place," says sanctuary chairman Lathe Claflin, "and then when we see something like this that's happened to it...it's really upsetting."

Something like this, being $500 to $600 worth of damage.

On July 13th, a volunteer noticed major vandalism at the sanctuary.

Vandals had ripped this box off it's post, broke rails, and defaced this historic sign. You can see spray paint and feces smeared all over it. Some of the feces appears to be in the shape of a swastika.

"It's just malicious vandalism," says Claflin.

Then, maybe a week and a half later, what he calls even worse. Bird houses were ripped off their posts. The nature lovers can only assume that killed the baby birds nesting inside.

"It breaks a federal law," he says.

For the people that love this slice of Jackson County, this vandalism is senseless.

"We've had minor vandalism in the past, but nothing, nothing like this," says Claflin.

I'm told police and the DNR Conservation Office has been notified. Now, the group hopes the vandals will be caught. They are looking for support and some help from the community.

"Mainly to get people to be vigilant when they are here," he says.

At Michigan's largest bird sanctuary, it's an upsetting situation, but they will move forward.

"We have people come from all over the country and sometimes across the world to come and visit this place," says Claflin.

The historic sign will be repaired, thanks to fresh paint.

The team will hire a contractor for some of the work, and make the rest of the repairs themselves.

If you want to help, contact the Michigan Audubon Society or the team at the sanctuary. Those links are in this story.

The park is free and open to the public.