CAMDEN, Ind. (WLFI) - A Camden couple will serve two year's probation for animal cruelty. As News 18 previously reported, Carroll County Animal Control had to rescue more than 30 dogs from "putrid" living conditions. Deputy Erica Draper led the investigation.
"It's like she knows 'I'm all better now, it's safe'," said Deputy Draper as she held Lady in her arms. She guesses that Lady is a dachshund-sheltie mix, given the dog's long fur coat and hot-dog shaped body.
Lady was one of the dogs found at James and Shannon Ballard's home in June. Deputy Draper and a team of animal control officers came to her rescue.
"She was actually the only over weight dogs that was out there, but she was also one of our wounded dogs," she said.
Lady had to be taken to the vet immediately for puncture wounds on her belly. Deputy Draper explains how the investigation started.
"The call I got was originally from a mail carrier that couldn't deliver mail because of several dogs," she said.
She said when she arrived at the rural Camden home, loose dogs swarmed her car. The Ballards let her into one room of the home, which had cages with several dogs inside. She described the conditions outside.
"No food, no water, no fresh water, dogs with wounds," she said. "That's what concerned me the most, the dogs with the wounds."
By the end of the investigation Deputy Draper and her team had rescued 36 dogs, four cats and 10 chickens from the home. Some of the animals were brought to Almost Home Humane Society in Lafayette. The Ballards owe AHHS $1,087 in restitution. According to court documents, they also owe A Critter's Chance in Plainfield $94. Court documents say they have until the end August of 2021 to pay off their debt.
The Ballards were sentenced in the Carroll Superior Court last Thursday on two counts of animal cruelty. The couple was initially charged with nine counts, but as part of a guilty plea agreement, they only received punishment for two. On top of the restitution, they are also on probation for two years. As part of their probation, the court allowed the couple to keep four dogs, but will be subject to random welfare checks. Deputy Draper believes the sentence is fair.
"I want to help the animals, but I also want to help people and help educate where I can," she said. "Not everyone has the resources they need to take care of their pets."
She urges people to reach out to your local shelters and animal control departments if you need help. As for Lady, she's currently living with a foster family, who wishes to remain anonymous. Deputy Draper has kept in touch with Lady and has enjoyed seeing her flourish.
"She loves being around people, kids other animals," she said. "She's been doing great."
Deputy Draper said many of the animals that were rescued are recovering well and several have already been adopted. Contact Pawswap of Greater Lafayette to learn more about which animals still need their forever homes.