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Huntingburg Woman Sentenced In Animal Cruelty Case
Updated October 13, 2014 7:09 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(HUNTINGBURG) - Mary Burch entered into a plea agreement for the animal cruelty charges she faced after 37 dogs -- nine of which were found deceased and decayed -- were found in deplorable conditions at her Huntingburg home in April.

The original 37 counts was pleaded down to five counts of animal cruelty. 66-year-old Burch was sentenced to serve a year for each count in the Dubois County Security Center, but the sentencing was reduced to five years probation. During that time she can't possess any vertebrate animals -- those with a backbone.

She is also required to pay an undetermined amount of restitution to the the Dubois County Humane Society who was saddled with handling the majority of the medical and kenneling expenses for the animals.

Burch's Washington Street home has been ordered to be demolished by the City of Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety. It had been declared unfit for human occupancy by the Dubois County Health Department prior to that order. (Story here and here)

Police say Burch was running a puppy mill out of her home.

According to Huntingburg Detective Sergeant Christian Gogel, he served an arrest warrant on 66-year-old Mary K. Burch, of 609 N. Washington St., for 37 A misdemeanor counts of cruelty to an animal and one C infraction count of harboring a non-immunized dog.

When police arrived at Burch's home on Washington at about 8:50 p.m., she started to leave her in a 2006 Dodge Caravan but was stopped near the intersection of Sixth and Main Streets.

Burch was then placed under arrest without incident and transported to the Dubois County Security Center. She was booked in at 9:16 p.m. and is being held on a $15,000 bond.

The Dubois County Free Press reports the investigation into Burch was opened after police received complaints of animal neglect from the Dubois County Animal Control Team on Friday, April 25.

The Huntingburg detective, with the assistance of members of ACT and the Dubois County Humane Society, served a search warrant on Burch's Washington Street residence and discovered 37 dogs -- 9 of which were deceased -- in the home. Several cages in the home held the decomposing carcasses of dogs that had died.

The surviving dogs were in poor health and malnourished according to the humane society and Dubois County ACT. Those dogs are currently in foster care through the two organizations waiting on the completion of the investigation until they can be adopted.

The City of Huntingburg teamed up with the Dubois County Humane Society and ACT of Dubois County to raise $5,000 to pay for vet care, spay/neuter, and foster care needs of the 28 dogs and puppies seized from a puppy mill in Huntingburg.

In addition to using the funds to care for the puppies from this incident, the humane society will also be establishing an animal welfare fund to be used in future large scale abuse/neglect cases.

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