JEFFERSON COUNTY, Indiana — The Jefferson County, Indiana woman charged with animal neglect after over 100 animals were taken from her home pleaded guilty to two counts of animal neglect on Wednesday.
As part of the plea deal, Vicki Gorrell, 59, relinquished all of the 134 animals she had living in her home on State Road 356 in Lexington, Indiana.
“They were seized on February 4 and the fact that less than a month later we're in a situation to now get these animals adopted out and into safe homes, that's a big victory for us,” said Jefferson County Indiana Prosecutor David Sutter.
Sutter said it was more important to get the animals relinquished quickly and accept a plea, than to lengthen the court process and file more charges of neglect.
There were 72 dogs kept in cages and living in their own feces, along with cats, pigs, chickens and a goat.
“They didn’t really have any food available,” explained Jefferson County Sheriff Detective Yancy Denning. “She had four of the animals with a rabies vaccine out of the 72 dogs that we took.”
The guilty plea puts her on probation for 18 months. During that time, she is not allowed to have any animals at her home.
“Our local animal control officer can also go along with probation to do home visits and make sure she does not own, possess or have any care of animals while she's on probation,” said Sutter.
Earlier in February, a dead rat was found on the property, and some animals had eye and skin conditions. At least a dozen dogs were too thin and most of them had not been vaccinated or fixed.
Since they've left the home, all have now had their rabies shots.
“Some of them are healthy, others needed their care, but we believe that all dogs that were seized are in a position to be adopted,” said Sutter.
Neighbors told WHAS11 they believe Gorrell thought she was helping the animals, not harming them.
She will go through a court-ordered mental health evaluation.
The Prosecutor's office will also determine how much she owes in vet and care costs from the time the animals were taken from her home, to the day she gave up ownership. It could be tens of thousands of dollars.
The animals are scattered throughout the county at shelters and foster homes and will be ready for adoption soon.
If you are interested in adopting a cat or dog, please visit www.sisaveapet.com, click on the Madison-Jefferson County Animal Shelter to see available animals.
The shelter is open to the public Monday, Thursday and Friday from noon – 5:00 p.m., Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m.
If you would like to make a donation, you can send a check made out to Jefferson County Animal Shelter to 2727 Hannah Drive, Madison, Indiana 47250 or donate over the phone by calling (812) 273-1788.
To adopt livestock, please contact the County Animal Control Officer through Dispatch at 812-265-2648.