Nearly 1,000 dead pigs found on Fulton County farm
UPDATE, December 10 | Man who left pigs dead is charged with animal cruelty
Immediate, please sign automatic message:
Please Seek Justice for the Abandoned Pigs
Between 950 and 1,000 dead pigs were found Monday on a Fulton County farm where they had apparently been abandoned months ago to die of starvation.
Humane Society Police Officer Dennis Bumbaugh said he has never seen anything like it before. He said the incident may be the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania’s history.
“I was horrified when I opened the door and saw what I saw,” he said during a phone interview Tuesday.
Bumbaugh was on his way to the Union Township farm of Daniel and Kerron Clark to begin counting the carcasses and assessing the evidence. The carcasses were reported to authorities by Kerron Clark on Monday, and Bumbaugh responded to the Harmon Lane property for an initial look at the situation.
“All I know at this point is that I’m dealing with a heck of a lot of dead animals,” he said.
It was a horrible situation. They struggled and fought to get out …
The Clarks had separated in recent years, and Daniel Clark reportedly left the farm for the last time in August, Bumbaugh said. Based on the level of their decomposition, he estimates the pigs died sometime “in the last several months.”
Kerron Clark had not been to the farm since 2008, he said. She recently acquired the property, and has been completely cooperative with authorities.
“This lady is devastated,” Bumbaugh said.
On Tuesday, the 218-acre farm was listed for sale at a price of $1.2 million by Realtor Rebecca A. Glesner of Long and Foster Real Estate. According to the online listing, the farm includes two hog finishing barns, grain silos and a 1900s farmhouse that “needs work.”
Related, Investigation Reveals Cruelty at Pig Farm
Vodpod videos no longer available.
“I knew there were some (dead animals) up there, but not this many,” Glesner said in a phone interview Tuesday after being told about the discovery.
Glesner said she recently visited the property, which has been on the market for about three weeks, and did not see any carcasses while she was there. She said she is not concerned about how hundreds of dead hogs might affect the property’s salability. “I think this is very normal in a lot of farming operations, that you’re going to have dead animals,” she said.
The pigs had been living inside buildings on the property and the majority of them were found still inside, Bumbaugh said. There is evidence of an effort to escape, and a few animals were found dead outside.
“It was a horrible situation. They struggled and fought to get out,” Bumbaugh said.
Among the dead hogs, Bumbaugh also found what appear to be the remains of about six calves. He said Daniel Clark will likely be charged pending further investigation.
“Oh my God,” said Union Township Supervisor Gary Sheeder on Tuesday, after being told about the number of dead pigs found on his neighbor’s farm.
Sheeder said he knows the couple and has had a number of conversations with Daniel Clark in the past. He said Clark’s was the only pig farm in the township, operating for “10 years, maybe longer than that.”
There is evidence of an effort to escape, and a few animals were found dead outside.
“I knew he was having problems with his wife,” Sheeder said. “I just can’t believe he’d do that.”
He said the couple had been having problems “for a good while,” and based on his conversations with Mr. Clark, the separation “has not been amicable.” Together they had “six or eight” children, Sheeder added.
“This is unbelievable as far as I’m concerned. I can’t believe, with as many kids as he had, that life didn’t mean more to him,” he said.
Sheeder said he knew Clark had moved away from the farm, but he did not know where he is. He declined to provide Clark’s phone number to Public Opinion.
Amy Bradford, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council, said Clark has not been actively involved with the council, nor is he a member of the Penn Ag Industries Association.
“Certainly we’re alarmed by this type of situation, and we’ll work to assist the Humane Society as they determine whether this is an animal health issue or a criminal investigation,” she said.
According to Bradford, Tuesday’s market value for hogs was 45 cents per pound, and the average market hog weighs 265 pounds. At that rate, the average full-grown hog would be worth about $120.
“This value is very variable and changes on a daily basis,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Among the dead hogs, Bumbaugh also found what appear to be the remains of about six calves.
Nicole Bucher, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, said a department veterinarian and an inspector with the state Bureau of Animal Health were traveling to Fulton County late Tuesday afternoon.
“They’re going to inspect what’s happening there and see what type of assistance we would be able to offer,” she said. The investigation is being primarily conducted by the Humane Society, with assistance from other agencies including the Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania State Police, McConnellsburg.
“The Humane Society asked us to be involved in determining cause of death,” Bucher said. “But it seems the state of the carcasses may be too decayed for an accurate necropsy.”
She said the department’s role in the case will be limited to the proper disposal of the carcasses. After the incident is properly documented, the dead pigs may be buried or incinerated.
Please remember to sign Please Seek Justice for the Abandoned Pigs
these creatures of god
are called pigs
but man is the swine
for so cruelly abusing
his brothers porcine
Karen Lyons Kalmenson