Jasonville woman admits guilt in case of cruelty to animals

A Jasonville woman accused of abandoning farm animals back in April was later charged with animal cruelty. She was back in court on Wednesday to change her plea to guilty and be sentenced.

Erin Ruth Clark, 42, was determined to be the owner of a black pot belly pig, one goat and three ducks who were left for an extended period of time without adequate food and water.

Erin Clark

Erin Clark

This case was investigated by Deputy Terry Wade from the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. In late April, Wade was called in by Chief James Gadberry of the Jasonville Police Department after Gadberry received information that the utilities to a rural residence had been disconnected since October of 2017, the house was vacant and animals had been left behind.

Wade reported that when he arrived at the property, the house did appear vacant and he found the pig in a kennel with no water but with a few lettuce leaves. In a fenced-in area, he found a goat and three ducks with no access to food or water. He took photographs of the animals and the state of their habitat.

Wade contacted neighbors in the area. One said they had not seen anyone at the property for at least three months. Another said he had seen cars there late at night but not very often.

The officer determined Clark was the last occupant of the residence and both Wade and Gadberry made numerous attempts to get in contact with Clark, either by phone call or on Facebook. Although she made one call back, Wade was not available at the time and when he tried to get back in touch, she did not respond.

When Wade returned to the residence again, a neighbor told him she had been going there to feed and water the animals. When the deputy checked on them, the pig was deceased.

Finally Clark responded to Gadberry. Wade reported she sent him a message saying she was broke and had no way to get to the property and that she never intended for this to occur. In another message, she said she would contact someone who wanted the animals and have them remove them from the property.

A case was filed against Clark on May 7 and a summons mailed to her on May 15 ordering her to appear in court on June 11. When she failed to appear, a warrant was issued and she was arrested then bonded out of jail.

In mid-August, Clark signed a negotiated plea agreement along with Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Stone and Clark’s public defender, Tim Shonk.

When she appeared in Greene Superior Court on Wednesday, September 26, she changed her plea and was convicted of cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor.

Clark was sentenced to one year in the county jail but she was given three days credit for time already served and 359 days were suspended. She’ll spend that time on probation.