INDIANAPOLIS - Prosecutors are moving forward with criminal charges in one of the worst cases of animal neglect they’ve ever seen.
Mary Smith is charged with 42 counts of animal neglect and could also face more than $276,000 in civil fines for 257 citations.
In June, Animal Care and Control officers found 42 dirty, malnourished and sick dogs locked in her home at 1520 E. 87th St.
When officers entered the home, they found the carcasses of seven dogs, including two puppies and one dog still locked in its crate, and it's believed the living dogs had been forced to eat off the rotting corpses and drink each other's urine to survive, according to an affidavit.
Officers said Smith’s home was covered in feces, urine, maggots and fleas.
Smith told police she moved to Terre Haute, but she said she came back twice a week to check on the dogs. Based on the amount of feces blocking the door to the home, authorities said they doubt her claims.
On Tuesday, Smith had a court hearing on the criminal charges but did not appear in person.
Attorneys set another court date for the criminal charges for 8:30 a.m. on April 10.
If convicted, Smith could face up to a year in prison for each animal.
Smith was also scheduled for a hearing on the civil citations on Monday, but failed to appear in court.
She is facing 257 citations for care and treatment, disposition of a dead animal, abandonment of an animal, rabies tags, rabies vaccinations and permanent identification.
She will have to answer to the civil citations in another hearing on April 10 at 1:30 p.m.
In July, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney asked Smith why she would leave the dogs in those conditions.
When Kenney asked what Smith had to say for herself, Smith replied, "What do you have to say for yourself?" and refused to answer further questions.
All of the dogs found alive have been adopted.