Investigators: ‘We will be filing charges’ against farmer in dead animal case

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MADISON COUNTY – The owner of a farm where up to a hundred dead animals were found will face charges.

Investigators from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department told Fox 59 that they “will be filing criminal charges” against Daniel Ault. Those charges are likely to come next Monday.

Madison County authorities were called to the farm after neighbors reported a terrible smell. Ault said last week that animals started dying during the winter and he was struggling to take care of them. He admitted he’d hidden the dead animals to keep them out of view.

In addition to animal cruelty charges, Ault could also face counts related to child neglect. Fox 59 has learned that Ault, his wife and two children were living in the barn up until investigators descended on their farm. They had propane heaters and a refrigerator stocked with food. Investigators described the living conditions as terrible. The children are now in the care of other family members.

Ault has several prior charges related to animal cruelty or neglect related to his auction house in Hamilton County.

The cost of the investigation could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars as crews work to bury the dead animals and transport the other malnourished animals, investigators said. Hazmat crews spent much of last week removing animals from the barn. Crews also tested the land and groundwater for disease and contamination.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department is waiting on autopsy results from Purdue University and information from other investigating agencies before proceeding with charges.

Daniel Ault

Daniel Ault


  • Mary

    These animal cruelty charges are almost meaningless it seems, people ALWAYS end up getting more animals and doing the same things again! What do these charges even teach people? I wish I knew more about it.

  • nothtistime

    This guy has drawn outrage from around the world. He WILL get serious charges or I mean they will she is also responsible. Can't imagine what kind of "meat" he produces yuck… Let over a hundred animals starve to death…a slow and agonizing death. I hope they get very hungry in prison and for a long time. Must be many charges if it's taking them several days to put it together, we shall see. I for one would love to be on this jury…wouldn't you?

    • anon

      Yes I would, & since I live in Anderson, there is a possibility…. I wonder why it looks like they are only charging him, as she was an active participant in the animal cruelty & neglect, as well as child neglect. I can't believe she allowed those kids to live in those conditions! It's one thing for 2 adults to live like that, it's inexcusable to force it on the kids!

  • Loft

    Hope both of them get years and years in prison, and if they don't they should be forced to live around all the dead animals..o wait thats how they chose to live not how they where forced. I only pray they never see their kids again for forcing them to live like that.

    • anon

      Since the kids are staying with other family members, I'm sure they will see them again. CPS better do their job for once & refuse to give the kids back until they can prove they can provide a suitable home with sanitary facilities, like indoor plumbing! Realistically, they will get the kids back, as far worse excuses for parents have gotten their kids back, but CPS needs to make unannounced home visits to ensure the kids' safety. I actually have to agree with you, though, they shouldn't ever get the kids back. They should be declared unfit parents, but that's not likely to happen.

  • Pay4YourCrime

    I rather hope they get a penitent heart. There is nothing worse than knowing you have done something terrible and then it eating at you for years to come. A conscience can inflict pain that no incarceration can. Yes, I hope for justice. Frankly I think there should be federal EPA charges as well. But growing a conscience would by the most pain that they could feel.

    • anon

      Since he is a repeat offender in regards to animal cruelty & neglect charges, he has proven he has no sense of decency & is incapable of having a conscience; since she went along with it & said it was being blown out of proportion, she may also be beyond help.

  • anon

    Funny…. he doesn't look like he's missed any meals! What a monster, stuffing his face while letting 100's of animals starve to death!!!!! I hope he rots!

  • Sherrie

    I love and relate to animals of all kinds, as well as have several very spoiled animals of my own, I live in the country. That being said, if they were living in the barn it sounds like they were broke, broke, broke. You can’t stop at the store and buy a “couple” bags of feed for the critters when you are broke! He obviously should have sold or given away, if possible the animals. Sometimes you can’t even give them away, especially the large hay burners in a down economy or under drought conditions. If you turn the chickens loose they could forage for themselves at least enough to stay alive. I don’t know all the details of this case and I just want to say, don’t be so quick to judge a person until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.

    • Kathy

      If you can't afford to feed your animals…then you call a rescue, the Humane Society, Animal Control or someone to come and take them! You don't sit there and watch them drop dead from starvation!!!

  • Animal Rescue

    NO EXCUSE!!!! HUNDREDS OF DEAD ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STARVED TO DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a Horrific, Agonizing, Painful Death!!!!!!! I wouldn't want to walk a mile in his Nasty moccasins!!! There is NOTHING that could be said that could even come close to Justifying his actions!!!!! Apparently he (they) wasn't too BROKE since they managed to apparently buy that Meat Processing Plant or whatever it was. NO EXCUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • gerald strong

    sounds like to me . he didn't have any idea of how to run a farm . and the police came in and took everything he had . costing more money for the government . instead of just helping the man wth some feed & some fence ,,,,
    fb , gerald strong

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