The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

April 11, 2013

Animal foster home describes conditions at Summitville farm

ANDERSON, Ind. — “Come here, sweetheart,” Molly Gunason said. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

She brushes aside hay, revealing a sheep buried underneath. She lifts its head — it’s too weak to do it itself.

“We’re going to have to put him down,” Gunason said. “He doesn’t deserve to suffer more than he already has.”

Wednesday, the sheep was taken from a Boone Township farm, where the carcasses of as many as 150 animals were found rotting, covered with tarps, in buckets and piled in a manure pit and septic tank. The surviving 30 or so animals were described as starved, “walking skeletons,” withered to skin and bones and wading through piles of the dead.

Daniel W. and Carrie Ault own the farm, on County Road 1700 North near 350 West near Summitville.

Thursday, Carrie Ault said the condition of the surviving animals was being “blown way out of proportion,” and the media was “over-exaggerating” and was “slandering” the family. She declined further comment.

Gunason thinks otherwise: “It’s just starvation,” she said.

Behind her barn, Gunason keeps larger animals taken from the Ault farm — eight miniature horses, five more sheep, two ponies and a llama, all caked in months’ worth of mud, she said, and some whose skin is stretched tight over their visible ribs and shoulders.

“They probably haven’t been fed properly in months,” said Gunason’s friend, Jessica Dean. She said the animals’ hair was so caked with mud and feces, they’d likely have to be shaved.

Dean said the animals would be kept at the farm for at least 10 days, after which they become property of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. Following a 20-day quarantine, she said, the animals could be placed in new homes if the Aults do not successfully appeal.

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

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