A Polk County farmer has been found guilty of violating Wisconsin’s livestock premises registration law, and ordered to pay nearly $400.

Patrick Monchilovich, 39, of Cumberland, is the first person to be convicted of violating the law, which took effect in November 2005. He has 60 days to appeal the judge’s decision.

The premises registration law requires that any property where livestock are held must be registered in a central database and assigned a number. The registration lists what species are on the premises.

According to a state animal health spokesman, when there is a disease outbreak, state animal health officials can look at the database to find susceptible animals for testing and/or provide information to the owners of the animals about the disease. The law is intended to speed up the process of finding potentially exposed animals when there is a disease outbreak. A speedier response protects animal and public health, limits losses to individual producers, and reduces economic damage to the state as a whole.

According to documents filed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Monchilovich was first contacted by telephone in April 2008 to inform him that he needed to register his premises, on which he was keeping cattle. He declined.  An animal health inspector visited him later that month, and he still refused to register.  In May 2008, he refused delivery of a certified warning letter, which was then hand-delivered to him during a final visit by the inspector and a compliance officer in June 2008.

Charges were filed in Polk County Circuit Court by District Attorney Daniel Steffen on Feb. 26, and Monchilovich pleaded not guilty on March 17. The case came to trial on Oct. 21, when he was found guilty by Judge Molly GaleWyrick and ordered to pay a $200 civil forfeiture and about $190 in court costs.