94 animals, 13-year-old girl removed from filthy Indiana home; woman arrested

National / World

Nancy Clemmer (Credit: Madison County Sheriff’s Office)

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. (WXIN) — An Indiana woman has been arrested on charges of neglect after more than 90 animals and a teenage girl were removed from her home.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Alexandria police responded to an animal complaint regarding pigs running loose at a home on July 29. They had responded to around 15 animal complaints since June 3. Neighbors said animals have repeatedly escaped their enclosures at the home and have made “loud and continuing noises.”

Court documents identify Nancy Clemmer, 58, as the owner of the approximate 5,600-square-foot, 10-bedroom home in Alexandria. A garage on the property had been converted into a second home. Clemmer, who told police she wanted to run an animal rescue out of the property, was charged with neglect of a dependent and animal neglect.

Animals housed at the home included pigs, dogs, chickens, guinea pigs and lizards.

Police say they observed multiple animal pens on the property that did not appear sturdy enough to house animals. They also saw two pigs running through the yard on July 29. They say Clemmer did not assist officers in trying to corral the pigs, which were not captured that day. Instead, they were captured two weeks later on Aug. 12.

Inside the home, officers say they saw food and water provided for the animals, but there was no attempt to clean the animals’ feces. Animal waste was seen on the floor, and police said the home had an overwhelming odor of animal feces, urine and “rot.”

According to police, the property was so full of trash that it took one officer several minutes to clear a path to get to the front door of the smaller home. However, according to court documents, he could not make it past the front door because the “odor and fumes emitting from the residence was overpowering.”

He said a swarm of flies inside could be seen through the window as well as cages stacked with what appeared to be gerbils. He could also hear the sounds of birds and dogs from outside.

Police say a 13-year-old girl lived in the smaller home with Clemmer. They said she was filthy and appeared to have animal feces on her. She was ultimately removed from the home and placed into a foster home.

Clemmer was given 14 days by the Madison County Health Department to make necessary changes to improve the cleanliness of the property. Police continued to observe the home and said no attempts were made to clean the property. Court documents say instead, more trash accumulated.

On Aug. 13, police say they attempted to contact Clemmer about the animals’ health. They say she refused to answer the door.

Police came back with a search warrant to seize “dogs which have not been immunized and animals which have been neglected including but not limited to: birds, dogs, cats, gerbils, pigs, goats, and snakes.”

Officers wore HAZMAT suits with masks to enter and investigate both homes. Court documents say the odor from the larger house caused a representative from the Madison County Health Department to vomit.

Police found several dead animals on the property, including a raccoon in a food bin, six baby chicks in a trough, birds on the floor of the smaller house, and a guinea pig in a trash can. Clemmer told authorities she threw away 11 other dead guinea pigs over the weekend and that the bodies of several dogs and a macaw were “somewhere” in the smaller house.

Court documents stated that in the smaller house, it was impossible to step anywhere without stepping in animal urine and/or feces. Police were unable to find the dead dogs or macaw.

Police seized 94 live animals, including:

  • One pig (two other pigs who were spotted running loose on the property on July 29 were captured on Aug. 12)
  • 30 dogs, including nine puppies
  • nine chickens
  • Four turtles
  • 21 guinea pigs
  • Six lizards
  • One chameleon
  • Two parrots
  • 12 mice
  • Three degus (rodents)
  • Three chinchillas
  • One snake
  • One cat

Police said four dogs were found in two bedrooms of the larger house. Chickens, turtles, several dogs, and a pig were kept in enclosures outside. A responding officer said there was no water for any of the animals. Clemmer told them it was because it was early in the morning and she did not have a chance to fill the water bowls.

The majority of the animals were found in the smaller house. Police say there was no furniture inside, only a mattress that was “soaked yellow from apparent urine that was sitting on top of the trash.”

The state veterinarian examined all the animals and found they appeared to be fed, but no other care was given. The animals were placed with various animal rescues.

The officer who filed the affidavit said in his 10 years on the job, the home was the “most unsanitary and unclean home I been inside of during my professional career.”

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