A Madison County, Ind. couple were facing hundreds of charges after 171 dead animals were found on their farm, along with 165 other animals that were barely alive, according to FOX59. Daniel and Carrie Ault took a plea deal and plead guilty to four counts of improper disposal of a dead animal on Monday, January 26, 2015.
Though the Aults were facing hundreds of charges, the maximum sentence in this case is four counts of improper disposal. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many charges are filed against them. The couple was also facing 15 counts of animal cruelty but these charges were dropped, as well as two counts of neglect of a dependent child as part of the plea deal.
On April 9, 2013, Madison County Law Enforcement was called to the Ault’s farm near Summitville because of a foul smell. When investigators arrived, they found a scene that was “disturbing,” “horrible” and “unprecedented.” There were 165 animals – horses, goats, geese, cows, sheep, turkeys, rabbits, cats, dogs and chickens – inside the barn, described as “skin and bones.”
Investigators found 171 dead animals on the farm, some so badly decomposed they were difficult to identify. Law enforcement officers, health officials and investigators spent days getting evidence and disposing of the deceased animals. It cost the county close to $30,000 for the clean-up.
The Madison County Board of Health condemned the barn after finding not only the animals but a five-gallon bucket of human waste, animal feces, animal carcasses and no running water. Authorities reported that two children, along with the Aults, were living in the barn.
The defense was able to get the child endangerment charges dropped, as well as the animal cruelty charges. Defense argued that the animals had died during the winter and the Aults did not have a proper way to dispose of the animals.
Initial reports stated that the Aults ran an animal auction in Hamilton County and were planing on opening a meat-processing plant, according to the Huffington Post.
The Aults are scheduled for court on February 13.
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