The owner of a Madison County farm where up to a 100 dead animals were found said he became overwhelmed and was unable to take care of them.
Fox59 spoke to Daniel Ault at the meat processing facility he runs in Grant County. He says the dozens of horses, cows, sheep and chickens started dying during the winter and he was unable to keep up with their care.
He admits to storing the dead animals in the barn to hide them from public view. Ault also told Fox59 the meat plant, which he recently bought, took all his time and money away from caring for the farm animals.
“That’s been over a four month period,” Ault said. “I haven’t moved them out or done anything with them in over a four month period, that’s almost November. And I have just not disposed of them properly.”
When asked why he allowed the animals to rot in the barn where other animals were suffering from malnutrition, Ault said he intended to move them out this week but didn’t get to it before authorities were called to the property.
“I didn’t have the equipment there to get them removed and I was planning on removing them this week,” Ault said. But it’s just all snowballed and it’s all come to a bad end.”
Madison County authorities said they were called to the farm after neighbors reported the terrible smell.
Sheriff Ron Richardson said the situation is like nothing he has ever seen.
“I think we’re all very emotional about how these animals were not taken care of,” Richardson said.
Among the dead and rotting carcasses were about thirty surviving animals, which were suffering from severe malnutrition.
Hazmat crews spent all of Wednesday removing animals from the barn. Then, the Madison County Health Department took samples from surrounding land and groundwater to test for disease and contamination.
Several larger animals were to be taken to Purdue University for autopsies in order to determine the exact cause of death.
Large digging equipment was brought in to prepare to bury all the dead animals on the property.
Sheriff Richardson said the entire process would be long and expensive, and taxpayers are paying the bill for now. Authorities hope to eventually recoup that money, but it’s not clear how or when that would happen.
Police and Animal Care and Control officers were preparing to transport surviving animals off the farm.
Several concerned citizens also arrived Wednesday evening to help move those animals or take them in.
One employee of the sheriff’s department told reporters that he believed criminal charges were likely in the case, although the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office will make that decision.
Ault has several prior charges related to animal cruelty or neglect related to his auction house in Hamilton County.
Investigators also think that he was living in one of the barns on the property along with his wife Carrie and their two children at one point.
“There was actually human feces in a five-gallon buckets, allegedly children living in those conditions so CPS was here last night,” Richardson said.
The Aults still have custody of their two young children as of Wednesday evening. They are staying at a different location.
When asked if he would be surprised if police came to arrest him, Ault stated, “No, I guess it wouldn’t surprise me, I guess.”
Those poor animals . . . I shouldn't really post what I hope happens to that worthless excuse for a human being, but jail time and sterilization are only the beginning. And the kids. In the same barn with the dead animals, or a different barn? He needs jail time. And to become someone's boytoy while there.
What kind of mother would allow her children to live like that? I hope charges are filed for child abuse on both of them. And what a pathetic excuse for a human being he is, and I hope after a fair trial, that appropriate sentences are given, and not another slap on the wrist case.
here we go again...mental illness... what a crock.. some people have REAL mental illnesses. Using that excuse every time there is neglect, somehow does not help people with REAL illnesses. Sorry I cannot stand this excuse any longer.
People can do anything now and be excused because of "mental illness". argh
There are over 100 animals alive.
These include 8 mini horses, 2 ponies, 1 Llama, 6 sheep, countless rabbits and chickens, turkeys, pigeons, geese and ducks.
At last count there are 75 plus dead but they are not done with the count.
The living animals were living and sleeping with dead bodies.
Dead bodies in different stages of decomposition litter the property.
Dead animals fill the pens and cages.
Dead bodies have been thrown in buckets, trashcans, some are covered by tarps.
This is a horrible situation.
The owner has had interviews stating that we are over reacting. We are not.
There is no reasonable explanation for the animal abuse / neglect that has gone on here. The lack of humanity.
The good news is we have places for all the animals with hooves, for the rabbits but we do need places for the fowl. They all must be removed today.
Financially this is more than the Animal Protection League or the Madison County Sheriff’s Dept can handle.
We need help to care for these animals.
We need hay, sweet grass, 10 mucking buckets, oats, rabbit food and feed for the fowl.
These supplies can be dropped off at the Animal Protection League at 613 Dewey St. Anderson 46016.
We are closed today but the donations can be left at the front door.
For monetary donations please send to the same address.
Thank you to this community for all your help.
Director Animal Protection League.
\"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"
As of right now we have found temp foster homes for all the animals.
The last count was over 100 most of that being fowls.
We will need help to care for all these animals.
You can donate via our website www.inapl.org or here on facebook.
If you would like to donate supplies we need hay, sweet grass, oats, rabbit pellets and chicken and fowl feed.
These supplies can be brought to the shelter at 613 Dewey St Anderson 46016 and they will be distributed to the fosters.
I want to thank all the volunteers who stepped up and helped out at the farm today...we could not have done it without you.
I also want to thank this community for the willingness to foster these animals. The response has been overwhelming.
This overwhelming generosity helped those of us who were looking at this horror. Thank you.
Director Animal Protection League.
He also runs an auction that Killer Buyers are present at, and owns a meat processing plant...Tell me again how having slaughter avail prevents neglect and abuse....
Perfect thread to have the RARARASHES pounding home their rhetoric. But they missed it some how. I would have thought their "he is a plant by Wayne or PETA" theory would have already had a good 20 posts for me to skip over.
I agree he is not crazy. He is someone very much like the guy who videoed his shoot of the little red horse. He is some one who has turned off rational regard for animals in order to run his business or do his thing - slaughter and meat processing. Can any of you imagine what it would take to work in or even just film in some of these places???
But these men are one of the reasons I do not think these huge "slaughter house" work places are the go to solution to put food on our table or even Europe's table. Like I said - I have not met anyone who worked in a chicken farm setting who looked back on those days spent there as good for them or good for their souls. WHen they talk of it - they get that dead eyed faraway look that men who experienced war get.
So I keep reading to hopefully see better solutions offered. This guy being "local" is kinda squashing my local is better theory. He has had so many charges - and still he gets the opportunity to open a meat store?
I don't think that mental illness covers every case like this. Some people are just jackwagons, plain and simple. We can't conceive of ever living in these circumstances so it seems to us that the guy must have a screw loose. Lots of cruelty cases involving multiple animals are the result of sorry excuses for humanity.
While on another thread folks are arguing about someone intervening in something that looks suspicious, it's cases like this one that spur us to action as concerned citizens & animal lovers. And because it is illegal to trespass on posted property, folks have to contact authorities at the first sign of nonsense.
I am SO SAD for the children involved in this nightmare.