Officials make recommendation for charges in farm case

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MADISON COUNTY – Investigators revealed Tuesday that they’re recommending two felony charges and a misdemeanor in connection with a Madison County farm where more than 100 animals were found dead. The prosecutor will make the final determination on how many counts will be filed, though.

After reviewing the case, Sheriff Ron Richardson said the charges listed in the probable cause affidavit were neglect of a dependent (class D felony), disposal of dead animal required (class D felony) and abandonment or neglect of vertebrate animal (class A misdemeanor). Both barn owner Daniel Ault and his wife, Carrie, could face charges.

Daniel Ault was living in a barn with his wife and two children, officials said. That barn was condemned by the Madison County Board of Health.

According to investigators, 171 dead animals were found on the farm. Three of them were removed and taken to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University for analysis. The animals found on the farm included horses, sheep, llamas, rabbits, cats, ducks, geese, pigeons and poultry.

Of the 165 surviving animals, investigators said 17 hoofed animals were removed for analysis. Out of those animals, only two were found to be within normal range.

Richardson said the investigation included 22 different agencies. Prosecutors will make the final determination on charges in the case.

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