Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel told The Dodo deputies did nothing wrong. Noel said his deputy issued the activists a citation for not paying fees while staying at a campground. Iron County issued the other two citations for criminal trespass and agricultural operational interference, Noel said.
"We were fully within our rights to do what we did," Noel said.
What's at issue is whether or not the activists paid a camping ground's fee: "We were a bit frazzled by what had just happened so we pulled over to park," Hardt said.
While they were parked at the campground, that's when a Beaver County Sheriff's deputy showed up and cited them for not paying park fees. "I think at the end of the day it's a scare tactic to prevent people from documenting and photographing abuse," Hardt said.
Ag-gag laws have been enacted in seven states, including in Iowa, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Kansas and North Dakota - the legislation spawned from a series of shocking undercover investigations in recent years by the Humane Society of the United States and Mercy for Animals that have resulted in plant shutdowns, animal cruelty charges and public fury.