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In a plea agreement, James Campbell pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to an animal, and his other two counts were dismissed. He was sentenced to 365 days in the county jail, with a two-day jail credit, and 361 days suspended to probation. He also completed 15 hours of community service and an animal cruelty class, as ordered by the court.


INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man was charged with three separate counts of animal cruelty after police found a deceased dog and two other dogs that appeared to be severely underfed at his home.

On February 18, Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) sent an officer to a home in the 3300 block of N. Sherman Drive to investigate a report of neglected animals with no food or water.

According to court documents, the officer found two pit bull mix puppies in an enclosed patio area that had no heating source and was not weather-proof. The officer said the temperature at the time of his visit was 15 degrees.

The officer thought one of the puppies was dead at first until it lifted its head and “made a vocal sound.”

When assessed later, both dogs were given a 2 rating on the Purina Body Condition System: “Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass.”

A third dog was located in the back yard. Police said it was a deceased pit bull mix with a “heavy tow-chain and a wire connected to a choke chain” around its neck. An IACS sergeant later weighed the chain when it was removed from the dog’s neck. According to that sergeant, the chain weighed 12.5 pounds.

There was also no food or water nearby and no straw or bedding inside a wooden doghouse.

At least one dog was heard from inside the home, but officers were not able to access it.

All three dogs were confiscated and taken to the IACS building.

A probable cause affidavit shows a man identified as James Campbell left a message at IACS, claiming the dogs were his, and he didn’t realize how cold it was when he left them outside to go the grocery store.

IACS stopped by Campbell’s home again on February 19 to check on the welfare of the inside dog. The officer said she observed one dog inside of a wire crate with no bottom. A second dog was inside the residence, but Campbell said it belonged to his brother.

Campbell agreed to surrender the two puppies taken from his home. He told police the other dog had died while he was at the grocery store.

IACS had been to Campbell’s home at least twice before: on January 22, 2022 and July 1, 2020.

In the July 2020 visit, a dog was tied to a tree in the backyard. It had only six inches of movement before it would risk choking itself with a chain. That dog was the one that was found dead during the Feb. 18, 2022 visit.

During the January 2022 visit, a dog was found in the back yard inside a wire crate with no bottom and no available food or water. Another dog was found with a short chain around its neck. It’s unclear if either dog was the one who died in February.

During both of the previous visits, Campbell was told to give the dogs the proper amount (12 feet) of tethering, food, water and shelter.