MADISON COUNTY – Madison County prosecutors have filed formal charges against a husband and wife who lived at a farm where more than 100 animals were found dead.
Daniel Ault and Carrie Ault each face 113 charges including neglect of a dependent, improper disposal of a dead animal and cruelty to an animal. Prosecutors filed the charges Tuesday in Madison County.
The neglect charges are Class D Felony counts. Daniel and Carrie Ault both face two counts, one for each child investigators said was put in danger. They face 96 charges for improper disposal of a dead animal, a Class D felony. The 15 animal cruelty charges are Class A misdemeanors.
A warrant has been issued for both, but Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said the Aults have made arrangements to turn themselves in Thursday.
“(It) might be the most (charges we’ve seen),” Cummings said. “Not sure we’ve ever had to file that many before in a one-count indictment.”
The animals were discovered on the farm in April after neighbors complained of a smell coming from a property on 1700 North between 350 and 400 West, just north of Elwood. Dozens of horses, goats, sheep, geese, cows and chickens were found inside the barn. Sources said the surviving animals were just “skin and bones.”
Investigators said the Aults were living in a barn with their two children. The Madison County Board of Health has condemned that barn, which had no running water. Investigators also found a five-gallon bucket of human waste, animal carcasses and animal feces. All four family members shared the same bed, according to court documents.
“The sanitation, the sewage, just simply not a place where human beings should inhabit, particularly young children,” Cummings told Fox 59.
Investigators found a total of 171 dead animals on the farm, according to the probable cause affidavit. Authorities also found 165 surviving animals. Of 17 surviving animals taken for analysis, only two were found to be within normal range.
The dead animals were piled up, with investigators describing the scene as “bodies stacked upon bodies.”
Fox 59 spoke to Daniel Ault shortly after the story broke in April. At the time, he said the animals died during the winter and he was unable to keep up with their care. Ault said he hadn’t had the chance to dispose of the animals before authorities showed up at his farm.