'Carpet Of Bones' Abusers Get Only A Slap On The Wrist
Every once in a while a story just sticks with you. For me, that happened back in April when The Dodo covered the story of nearly 200 animals who were rescued from what responders called the worst neglect case they had ever seen.
WARNING: Extremely graphic photos below.
The scene they described sounded like something out of a nightmare: two farms covered in piles and piles of dead animals, decomposing body parts scattered across the properties and rescuers picking their way across a "carpet of crunching bones."
The surviving animals weren't much better: many of them babies, they had little or no access to food or water and were living among the rotting bodies of their families and friends. Starving and dehydrated and in many cases ill, they were barely hanging on.
Worse still were the voices of the rescuers. More than anything, they sounded traumatized - they kept saying the smell was still clinging to them. I haven't heard anyone talk like that since.
The people responsible - Chad Lloyd, 36, and his partner, Kimberly Brown, 23, of Independence Township, New Jersey -were arrested. But on Friday, one of the rescues that took in the surviving animals, Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue, announced that the abusers had been sentenced.
Their punishment? A $4,000 fine, 30 days community service and a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Skylands also released photos of the crime scene since the trial was over - and for many of us, these photos are the worse we've ever seen. The Dodo doesn't share images like this lightly, but in this case it's important to see just how much torture you can put a group of animals through and still walk away with a slap on the wrist.
The photos below aren't pretty. We'll let you judge whether the punishment matches the crime.
Three pigs who were rescued by Skylands.
The ground was littered in bones.
There were literal piles of dead and decaying animals.
This pig starved to death.
Another pig, still lying where she fell.
Starving and desperate, this goat tried to reach through a fence to find food. When she got stuck, she rubbed the skin off her jaw trying to escape. No one bothered to save her, and she likely died of dehydration.
These are just a portion of the atrocities these animals experienced. And what did their abusers get? According to Skylands, a small fine and community service.
If there's one bright spot, it's that the cows, pigs and other animals who were rescued from the nightmare farms are finally living the life they deserve. "They're fantastic. They've come so far. Their health is perfect - their personalities are totally different," Mike Stura, founder and president of Skylands, told The Dodo. "The sheep are still nervous."
If you'd like to help the surviving animals as they continue to recover, you can make a donation to Skylands here.