On 11/7/10 from 950 to 1,000 dead and rotting pigs were discovered at a factory-farm style confinement barn in Union Township, Fulton County, PA. Farm owners Daniel and Kerron Clark, who are divorcing, apparently deserted them months ago. The animals struggled to escape the building, but all succumbed to starvation. Several were found dead just outside the structure.
Daniel Clark was the last to leave the farm, sometime in August. Humane investigator Dennis Bumbaugh believes the pigs died “in the last several months,” based on decomposition levels. Rotting remains of six calves were also found. Bumbaugh says Daniel Clark will likely be charged, pending more investigation. Realtor Rebecca A. Glesner, who is showing the farm to prospective buyers, is not worried that 1,000 dead hogs will hinder its salability. “I think this is very normal in a lot of farming operations, that you're going to have dead animals.”
Death by starvation is agonizing as organs systems slowly shut down. Humane officer Dennis Bumbaugh says the pigs “fought” to break out, with some found dead just outside the barn. Reports from the media and authorities show that Daniel Clark deserted the property in August, in conjunction with a restraining order filed by his wife. Kerron Clark hadn't been there since 2008, even though she recently acquired ownership of the facility.
I urge the Fulton County District Attorney to file criminal charges against Daniel and Kerron Clark and to prosecute them to the maximum extent possible. While state cruelty statutes exempt “normal agricultural operations” from penalty for “wanton or cruel ill treatment...neglect...or deprivation of necessary sustenance, drink” [18 Pa.C.S. S 5511] — the death of nearly 1,000 domestic animals does not qualify as “normal.”
I hope prosecutors take a no-tolerance stance on all forms of animal abuse. Anything less gives the next abuser a green light to torture animals.