Update Jan. 25, 2011: Clark has pleaded guilty to ten summary counts of animal cruelty for which he received a $2,500 fine. Not even the maximum sentence of 900 days in jail and a $7,500 fine for ten counts of summary animal cruelty. The remaining 822 counts were simply dismissed.
Read Animal Law Coalition’s report below for more on this case of nearly 1,000 pigs who drowned or were left to die of hypothermia in icy water, or who starved.
Update December 13, 2010: Daniel Lee Clark, Jr. has been charged with 832 summary counts of animal cruelty in the deaths of nearly 1,000 pigs whose remains were found locked inside barns on his farm.
Clark is said to have abandoned the animals. The charges were filed with Magisterial District Judge Carol Jean Johnson in Needmore, PA.
According to the charges, Clark left the pigs to die without food, water or proper shelter between February and March 2009.
Necropsies could not provide the exact cause of death, but authorities say the animals most likely died from exposure to freezing cold temperatures, starvation and thirst. Clark has admitted he abandoned the animals when manure and water backed up into the barns, meaning they may very well have drowned or froze to death.
The penalty for each count of animal cruelty is between $50 and $750 and 90 days in jail. Clark’s arraignment is scheduled for December 22.
For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.
Original report: Nearly 1,000 pigs, shut in barns, were left to starve and probably had no water. The owner of the property in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, Daniel Clark, was last there in August but left pursuant to a restraining order obtained by his wife. His wife, Kerron Clark, left in 2008 but was recently given possession.
The bodies of the pigs estimated to have diedÂ in the last several months were found still inside the barns for the most part. Humane officer Dennis Bumbaugh described the situation as "horrible". He said the pigs "struggled" and "fought" to get out. These intelligent animals suffered terribly.
The property has been listed for sale, and Realtor Rebecca A. Glesner is reported to have said the barn full of dead pigs is "very normal" and not likely to affect the property value. Or her commission.
It is illegal in Pennsylvania to "wantonly or cruelly ill treat,… or neglect any animal …or abandon any animal, or deprives any animal of necessaryÂ sustenance, drink". 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511 Like many states, this law does not apply to "normal agricultural operations". Farm animals have few legal protections. And a violation is only a summary offense punishable by a fine of $50 to $750 or jail for not more than 90 days, or both.
There is nothing "normal" about this, and nearly 1,000 counts of animal cruelty could mean justice for these animals.