A complaint called in to Franklin County Animal Control has resulted in the arrest of a Coello man.
Deputies from the Franklin County Sheriff's Department arrested 21-year-old Samuel E. Baker June 2. He is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class 4 felony.
Sheriff Don Jones said the initial complaint was received by animal control May 31. Deputies from his office assisted Animal Control in serving a search warrant on June 1.
"It was terrible," Jones said. "It appears to be gross neglect of animals."
Animal Control supervisor Thad Snell said his office has confiscated 71 living animals rescued from Baker's residence after removing "over 20 dead animals."
He said officials are still removing animals from the residence and property. "We expect to get another 20," he said.
According to Snell, Baker has relinquished "all but a few" of the animals.
"We have released seven of the animals to a new home," Snell said. "The rest are lined up to be sent to a no-kill shelter."
Jones said there were a variety of animals at the residence and on the property including dogs, pigs, rabbits, ducks, chickens, birds, goats, mice, rats, and a boa constrictor.
"This is a situation we take very seriously," he said. "We will continue to investigate and turn over information to the state's attorney for prosecution."
Jones said he anticipates more charges to be filed.
Baker is currently free after posting $1,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on June 19.
A search of judici.com showed that Baker had been charged with five ordinance violations for animals running loose in 2017. Three of those charged were dismissed. Records indicate that Baker paid fines of $120 each on the other two on May 22.
Attempts to reach Baker for comment were unsuccessful.