UPDATE: Elk in Allamakee County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Elk in Allamakee County

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ALLAMAKEE COUNTY (KWWL) -- In a KWWL follow-up, we have some more information about the elk in Allamakee County. We've received a number of e-mails following that story, including this one from Ann, who asked us to bring more attention to the elk being reportedly killed near Waukon. She wanted more answers about why they needed to be killed because they might have a disease. So we asked the Iowa Department of Agriculture to explain.

Last week we visited Sherry Jensen's biology class at Waukon High School.

"We'd just like to see a more ethical way of doing it," Jensen said.

A group of her students were concerned about the fate of these elk found on property in Allamakee County. After that story aired KWWL around a dozen e-mails from viewers who were concerned about why the elk are being killed. State veterinarian Dr. David Schmitt says the threat of chronic wasted disease has spread to our bordering states. He says captive and free range deer have been found to have CWD in Wisconsin, which has spread to the northern part of Illinois. And recently an elk was found with the disease in southern Minnesota.

"We have a large, free ranging white tail deer population in our state. Economically it brings in a lot of people every year," Schmitt said.

The Iowa DNR says there are roughly 270,000 deer in Iowa. Schmitt says they Department of Agriculture is protecting those deer and the captive herd animals owned in Iowa.

"They're of an unknown status. We do not know whether they have the disease or not. Certainly we do not want them to spread the disease," Schmitt said.

So far, one elk has been killed, though Schmitt says they plan to kill the rest. He says this is the way they've always dealt with a threat of disease in the past. It's a part of a larger plan to remain CWD free.

In the meantime, those living in Allamakee County say they have contacted outside organizations like PETA to try to save the elk.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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