UPDATE (June 8, 2018) — Norita Sample pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. She was sentenced to a year in the Hancock County Jail, with jail time suspended to probation. She is not to have possession of pets or any animals during her probation.
HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – A Hancock County woman is facing charges for one of the worst cases of animal cruelty officials say they have had in years.
“The animal was very malnourished. Some of the bones and joints were protruding from the body of the animal,” said Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton.
Police arrested Norita Sample this week after investigators found a small dog in horrible condition.
“The animal appeared to be sick and weak,” said Proseuctor Eaton.
Police say the dog that could barely walk or open its eyes belongs to Sample.
She was arrested on animal cruelty charges after police say they found the underfed dog living in a feces filled area. According to court documents, there was no dog food in the home at the time of the arrest.
“According to the probable cause paperwork, one of the investigators at the scene had mentioned that it was the worst one that they had seen in their last 15 years of law enforcement,” said Prosecutor Eaton.
Just a few miles away, police say dozens of dogs, cats and horses were taken away in poor condition.
“Ultimately it came out to be about 28 total animals in the house,” said Prosecutor Eaton.
Investigators say the animals belong to Carole Ann Pope. She has not yet been taken into custody. According to court documents, the animals were not properly cared for.
Investigators say the inside of the home was so filthy, it was deemed uninhabitable.
“There was far too many animals in too small of a space. We want to encourage people to use common sense. Do not take on more than you can care for,” said Prosecutor Eaton.
The spike in recent animal abuse cases has the Hancock County animal shelter full. Investigators want people to know there are resources available, if they get overwhelmed.
“If you have an animal that you can not care for. Do not be afraid to ask for help,” said Prosecutor Eaton.
There are several resources available for people and their animals. Hancock County Animal Management has a food bank for people to pick up food for their animals.