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.