HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – Sick animals. Poor access to water. Feces everywhere. Multiple piles of skeletal remains.

These were just some of the things investigators encountered while investigating animal neglect at a Hancock County farm. Now, two people face multiple counts of animal cruelty after authorities worked with rescue groups to seize dozens of animals.

Tina Gibson and Trinton Horton-Gibson were both charged this week, according to court records.

Investigators initiated an investigation last month. Gibson and Horton-Gibson voluntarily turned over more than 100 animals to Greenfield Hancock Animal Management as well as rescue organizations Oinking Acres Farm and A Critter’s Chance.

A bus driver with Eastern Hancock School Corporation drove past the property four times a day as part of her route. She told investigators that dead animals on the farm were in full view of her and her student passengers, going back to November 2022. The woman reported seeing “multiple deceased and decaying animals” while driving by. Her account led police and Greenfield Hancock Animal Management to take a closer look at the property.

Horton-Gibson told an investigator that he had not checked on the animals for “a couple weeks” during a Jan. 4 interview, according to court documents.

The probable cause affidavit indicated that officers with the Shirley Police Department went to the farm property in Wilkinson on Jan. 29 to check the conditions.

The officers noticed animal feces all over the property. The “dated feces” and “fresh animal feces” had been “scattered as far as we could see,” one of the officers wrote. They also saw trash and debris littered throughout the property.

The officers entered a home, where they noticed the “very strong odor” of what appeared to be animal urine, an “ammonia stench in nature.” Stains were visible on the carpet and parts of the residence appeared to be “very unorganized.” Officers noticed an “abnormal amount of large flies” buzzing around them inside the home.

One officer stayed in the home to interview Gibson while a second accompanied Horton-Gibson to get a better idea of the layout for the entire property. Gibson said she was responsible for feeding some of the animals, including chickens, hens, roosters, rabbits, geese and cats.

She told the officer she scattered feed on the ground for the animals.

“After viewing the area prior to entering the home, this feed would have ultimately been ingested, and very likely along with the feces that was scattered on the ground throughout the property,” the officer wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

An officer stated that “he viewed feces throughout the entire property, along with mold-ridden hay and many safety hazards that with all combined, made this property highly unsuitable for raising animals,” according to the affidavit.

Officers noticed buildings were in disrepair or structurally unsound on the property, calling them a “safety hazard.” Buildings lacked proper insulation to protect animals from the elements, be it the cold of winter or the heat of summer.

Gibson and Horton-Gibson had receipts for animal feed, police said, and investigators indeed noticed an abundance of food intended for animals. But many of the buildings and exterior areas were covered in feces and/or mold, making it detrimental to the health of the animals to eat it.

Investigators noticed a lack of accessible, potable drinking water.

Animals seized from the property alive included a donkey, a ram, a calf, two mules, eight goats, a lamb, two ducks, six geese, three pigs, 31 hens, seven roosters, four rabbits and three cats.

A calf, a goat and a pig—all dead—were removed from the property for a necropsy to determine their cause of death.

Other dead animals were left behind, including a raccoon, five rabbits, seven goats, six calves, six pigs, an adult cow and eight newborn chickens. Also found on the property: an “adult cow skull fully intact, no meat, no hair”; multiple bird bones, legs and “multiple piles of skeletal remains.”

Three animals were sent to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University to determine what led to their deaths. All three were sick from various ailments.

The lab also performed medical evaluations on seven of the animals seized from the farm. Most of them were malnourished while some were sick and needed medicine.

Two rabbits turned over to A Critter’s Chance needed treatment and care; one of them died after surgery from suspected complications related to cancer. The other rabbit was underweight but was showing signs of improvement.

A supplemental report from Greenfield Hancock Animal Management indicated that 31 hens seized from the property were underweight and suffered from frostbite; one of them had to be euthanized. Seven roosters were also underweight and frostbitten; eight newborn chickens were found dead with no access to food or water on the second story of one building.

Concerns about the welfare of animals at the farm led to the investigation. Officials with one of the animal rescue groups called it “one of the more horrific cases” they’ve seen, adding that there was “no excuse for what happened.”

Gibson and Horton-Gibson were scheduled for an initial hearing in March.