ALBION — A pair of Noble County residents have been charged with animal cruelty following an investigation into the conditions of multiple horses living on a Noble County property.
Jeremy Clark, 42, and Amanda Philo-Clark, 39, have both been charged with six counts of animal cruelty, a Class B misdemeanor, after six horses were seized March 24 from their property in the 1400E block of C.R. 400N.
The cases have been set for initial hearings on May 4.
Clark and Philo-Clark were not arrested due to current protocols regarding COVID-19 at the Noble County Jail, according to Noble County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Mowery. They were each issued a summons to appear at the May 4 hearing.
A Class B misdemeanor carries a sentencing range of up to 180 days in jail.
The six horses, one of which was pregnant, are now being cared for at the non-profit Shadarobah Horse Rescue.
The Noble County Sheriff’s Department was contacted on March 23 by a woman who called Noble County E-911 Dispatch to report a possible animal neglect case.
Noble County Deputy Whitney Dangello contacted a woman from Knoxville, Tennessee, who stated she runs a thoroughbred horse rescue, and in January she allowed Philo-Clark to adopt a horse named Valuntario.
According to court documents filed in the case, the woman said the horse had just come off the horse track in December for a bowed tendon. The horse was 4-5-years-old and had no other medical issues, according to the caller.
The woman had been called by another resident of the property in the 1400E block of C.R. 400N who told her that the horse was deceased due to neglect.
According to the affidavit for probable cause filed in the case, Dangello went to the property and received consent to look at the other horses. Dangello noted that the horses were very thin and looked neglected. She then contacted Dr. Shelly Chavis, a veterinarian with the Board of Animal Health.
On March 24, Dangello interviewed a witness who said Philo-Clark had not been caring for any of the horses on the property since December. The witness said Philo-Clark had not checked on the thoroughbred since she had received it.
The witness said there had not been any grain at the residence for the horses since the beginning of March.
Chavis and Dangello returned to the property on March 24. The two received permission to look at the horses and their living conditions.
Jeremy Clark allegedly told Chavis and Dangello that the horses were thin because they were suffering from a respiratory illness. Chavis found no sign of respiratory illness in the animals.
Chavis evaluated the animals, court records allege, “and found all to be in poor condition or in a condition which warranted concern for their care, nutrition and well being.”
A probable cause hearing regarding the seizure of five of the horses was held March 24. An order for the seizure was signed by Judge Steven Hagen.
Later that afternoon, the Shadarobah Horse Rescue sent volunteers to pick up the five horses. Chavis, who was also on hand, was told by a third part that one of the remaining six horses was pregnant and was expected to foal in the next one to three weeks.
Citing that horse’s condition and the lack of a good place to foal, authorities received an addendum to the original order from Hagen and seized the sixth horse and her unborn foal.
In a written statement, Mowery said that “at this time the most important issue is the safety of the animals, which we were able to ensure thanks to the quick action of the sheriff’s department, the Indiana Board of Animal Health, Shadarobah Horse Rescue and deputy prosecutor Leslie Shively.”