Neglect charges, pertaining to a teenager and 14 dogs and two cats, were filed against a Scottsburg couple whose mobile home was filled with what investigators said were rotting food, bugs and animal feces on July 27.
Charges filed in Scott Superior Court against Marion Anthony Hayes, 39, and Ashly N. Phillips, 33, include one count of neglect of a dependent, a Level 6 felony, and four counts of cruelty to an animal, all Class A misdemeanors. The neglect of a dependent charge was based on the fact that Hayes' 17-year-old son was living there. His 18-year-old son was also a resident.
The situation was discovered when Deputy Rodney Rudder stopped at the couple's mobile home on Wednesday, July 27. He was serving notification papers for possible jury duty in the park and mistakenly went to the Hayes-Phillips residence.
As he approached the trailer and knocked on the door, Deputy Rudder said he smelled a strong odor and that several dogs began barking inside the mobile home. He also found a dog loose outside the home.
The deputy was aware that the number of dogs and cats which can be kept by Scottsburg residents is limited by city ordinance, and pets must be restrained by a leash, fencing or chained at all times when they are outside.
He reported the situation to Animal Control Officer Denny Robbins. Robbins went to the trailer soon afterward and picked up the stray dog. That animal's collar was so tight that it was embedded in the dog's neck, Officer Robbins noted. He also saw several dogs “...hanging out the windows,” the probable cause affidavit related.
The smell of feces from the animals was described as “...so strong you could not get close to the house...” by the animal control officer.
Officer Robbins contacted Deputy Rudder. Scottsburg policemen then met animal control officers at the residence. Since no one was at home, Major Richey Barton of the Scottsburg department contacted Hayes by phone at his workplace. Hayes made arrangements to meet the officers at the trailer that afternoon.
Patrolman James Vires and Robbins went back to the residence that afternoon. With them were District 8 field veterinarian Dr. Jodi Lovejoy and a Department of Child Services (DCS) staff member.
Hayes allowed the veterinarian, DCS employee and Officer Robbins inside to observe living conditions. The man allegedly admitted to having seven dogs inside. Ptl. Vires noted in his report, “The strong odor of feces and urine could be smelled while standing out in the roadway approximately 30 feet away.”
The DCS staffer stated she observed that “...the floor was covered with dog feces, rotting food and other items making it difficult for (her) to walk through the rooms without sliding.” In her opinion, every room was uninhabitable, the affidavit stated.
Insects, both live and dead, were also found in the residence, including in the refrigerator. Dr. Lovejoy advised that several dogs had severe flea infestations and significant skin and hair problems. Ten of the dogs she saw had long nails, and two of the dogs had nails so long they appeared to be growing into their paws.
Officers seized a total of 13 dogs and two cats from the residence. One of the larger dogs was emaciated and so weak, it had difficulty standing up, Dr. Lovejoy noted. The veterinarian said she observed the dog “...walk only a few feet before laying back down and was observed urinating in the hallway.” On a scale of 1 to 10, Dr. Lovejoy graded the dog's condition a 1, the worst possible.
The temperature in the main area of the residence was 90 degrees that day, it was noted in the affidavit.
The 17-year-old was removed from the home by the DCS.
The animals were taken under the wing of the Scott County Humane Society. Once the larger dog, an apparent Australian shepherd, was bathed, he was kept at the local shelter so that his condition could be monitored. Officer Robbins said the dog's condition and appetite appears to be improving. “He still has a way to go, though,” Robbins related.
Several of the small dogs have already found new homes through the Society's adoption service. Some are in foster homes.
Hayes and Phillips were arrested on Wednesday evening, August 3. They appeared for initial hearings in Superior Court on Thursday, August 4, during which preliminary not guilty pleas were entered for them. Each was assigned an initial trial date of November 1 and a public defender.
Bail for each of the defendants was set at $30,000 by corporate surety bond or $3,000 cash.