Alaska News

Fairbanks 'meat for heat' case dropped by wildlife troopers

FAIRBANKS -- Alaska State Troopers have dismissed a charge against a man accused of trading moose meat for firewood in a case dubbed "meat for heat" in the Fairbanks community.

The Board of Game changed wording in a statute that makes it illegal to sell game meat, making bartering legal.

"I'm relieved," Chad Gerondale, 41, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "Being accused of a crime is a serious thing. It was very frightening. I never imagined it would happen to me in my life."

Gerondale offered to swap 125 pounds of moose meat for two cords of firewood last week on a Fairbanks radio show.

But a trooper showed up at Gerondale's house and cited him for illegal barter of game meat. He was ordered to appear in court on Feb. 3.

"It's 45 below," said Gerondale, who has a wife and four children. "I just wanted to heat my house."

He didn't kill a moose for the meat that he wanted to trade -- he said a friend gave the meat to him.

Troopers Sgt. Scott Quist says the Board of Game during its meeting in Anchorage last week removed the word "barter" from a state law that prevents people from selling game meat and other parts.

Quist asked the Fairbanks district attorney to drop the charges against Gerondale when he learned of the change.

The changes in the law do not go into effect until July, Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Cynthia Gardner said.

The proposal to change the wording wasn't because of Gerondale's case; the proposal had been submitted months ago.

Associated Press