ANDERSON — Maleah Stringer can still remember the horrific scene from a Boone Township farm near Summitville early this spring. Dozens of dead animals, and nearly as many still alive but in terrible shape. She was overwhelmed.
Friday night, she said she was overwhelmed again, but for a much happier reason. The executive director of the Animal Protection League received two large checks from Hoosier Park, one for $3,810 and another for $5,000, that will help fund her organization.
Responding to neighbor complaints on April 9, authorities discovered 171 dead and rotting animals, including horses, sheep, goats, cows and rabbits in several barns on farm property owned by Daniel and Carrie Ault on County Road 1700 North near 350 West near Summitville.
APL was charged with nursing the surviving animals back to health, removing them and getting them adopted. Stringer said the outpouring of support from the community has been tremendous during a summer where her organization was stretched thin.
"It's huge," Stringer said. "The budget we get from the city, it frankly isn't enough to do what we want to and what we need to, so to get support like this from Hoosier Park and the people in the community, it's overwhelming."
The event comes shortly after the passing of new animal cruelty ordinances in Madison County. The stiffer rules about animal care couldn't have been done without the attention the Ault farm brought to the issue, Stringer said.
"It opened everyone's eyes to the fact that, this can't go on. It opened the door for us to do something new," Stringer said.
Casino officials chose Friday night to honor the organization's volunteers and donors and to raise money for APL, which was founded to house stray animals and raise awareness of cruelty to animals. After roughly 40 volunteers were acknowledged, they were brought down to the track to help show off about 10 dogs in need of adoption.