ALEXANDRIA — A woman facing charges of neglect after 94 animals and a child were removed from her home last month has a history of animal hoarding in at least two other states.
Maleah Stringer, executive of the Animal Protection League in Anderson, said one of her volunteers has unearthed records showing Nancy L. Clemmer, 58, 1500 block of Park Avenue, had previously been ordered to abate properties where she lived in Long Beach, California, and Niles, Michigan.
According to Madison County Circuit Court 6 records, the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office used that information on Aug. 25 when officials filed a notice of intent to seek habitual offender status against Clemmer. She has been released on $5,000 bond.
“This is not just about the animals living there,” Stringer said. “We can only hope they will be more careful about placing this child back with the mother.”
Clemmer has been charged with Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent, Class A misdemeanor neglect of a vertebrate animal and Class C infraction, harboring a non-immunized dog.
Her 13-year-old daughter, who was described as “filthy and had what appeared to be animal feces on her,” was removed from the home and placed into foster care July 29.
The live animals, including three pigs, 21 dogs and 21 guinea pigs, were sent to rescue organizations throughout Central Indiana. An undisclosed number of dead animals also were found around the property.
Police described the home as being filthy with feces and urine, and several dead animals were found in and around piles of trash that in some places went so high that the living animals didn’t need to climb on furniture to reach countertops. The unsanitary conditions, including the odors, forced public safety officials to wear hazardous material suits.
Alexandria police had responded to about 15 complaints since June 3.
The Alexandria Police Department has come under fire by some who believed officers didn’t act quickly enough. However, Chief Terry Richwine defended the department’s actions, saying the police runs started with minor nuisance calls, such as excessive barking by dogs and loose animals.
“We’ve done more, obviously, than those last two states,” he said. “We’ve gotten the property condemned and had the daughter taken away.”
At first, Richwine said, officers were unaware how many animals were on the property and what its condition was relative to their health and safety and that of Clemmer’s daughter.
“Each time, (Clemmer) had a story why she was innocent, why this happened, and she would take care of it,” he said. “It’s not necessarily that the wheels of justice turn slow. But this is America. The more we went, the more there was to the story.”
Clemmer told police she was running an animal rescue on the property, including a 10-bedroom main house and a smaller residence where Clemmer and her daughter lived, nestled between Whetsel Funeral Services and Gaither Resources.
The number of complaints and their nature escalated. It was when an officer nearly was bitten by one of the dogs and called for backup that a clearer picture started to emerge, Richwine said.
“This is the worst of anything I’ve seen because there were so many live animals, but there was a fair number of dead animals,” said Richwine, who has been in law enforcement about 45 years.
“It’s just hard to understand how people think they’re doing something good but actually are doing a lot of harm,” he said. “She had the right intention but just wasn’t capable of following through and doing it the right way.”