The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

May 8, 2013

Prosecutor: Ault case a ‘logistical nightmare’

ANDERSON, Ind. — Law enforcement has completed its investigation and recommended charges against the owner of a Boone Township farm where more than a hundred animals were found dead and rotting.

Last month, authorities found 171 carcasses on a farm belonging to Daniel and Carrie Ault on County Road 1700 North near 350 West near Summitville. Roughly 30 more animals who survived were described by investigators as “walking skeletons,” either very thin or emaciated and living among the dead.

Monday, the Madison County Sheriff’s office turned over its probable cause affidavits to county prosecutor Rodney Cummings, who will decide what charges will be filed and how many counts.

Because there are so many animals involved, Cummings said the case is “a logistical nightmare,” and could take his office “a little while to work through.”

The sheriff’s office has recommended three charges: Class D felony improper disposal of a dead animal, Class A misdemeanor abandonment or neglect of a vertebrate animal and Class D felony neglect of a dependent, because the Aults had apparently lived with their school-age children in a barn near the dead animals. That living quarters was condemned by the Madison County Board of Health.

All told, the investigating agencies found 165 live animals on the farm. Of those, 17 hoofed animals were examined and scored by the Department of Animal Health, and “only two animals scored in the normal range,” Sheriff Ron Richardson said. Animals falling below “normal” are categorized as being thin or emaciated.

There were 22 agencies involved in the month-long investigation, Richardson said, “and we would like to thank everyone for their time and effort in assisting us in this investigation.”

Like Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @BayleeNPulliam, or call 648-4250.

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