Couple accused of animal neglect speaking out

Photo from the scene, provided by Indiana State Police
Photo from the scene, provided by Indiana State Police

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – One Wabash Valley couple is now speaking out against their arrest. Jimmy and Stacey Ornduff were arrested on charges of animal neglect last week.

But they’re calling foul. So, News 10 spoke with them and heard their side of the story.

“How does one get arrested for doing the right thing?” asked Stacey Ornduff.

Stacey and her husband, Jimmy, were arrested after police say their animal cages were covered in five to six inches of feces.

“(These animals were in a situation that wasn’t good for them.) We don’t deny that. You’re talking about the bunnies? We don’t deny that. Jimmy don’t deny that. I don’t deny that. That’s why rescue got involved. We knew they had to get in a better situation,” said Stacey.

The couple states they wouldn’t dream of doing anything to hurt those they call their ‘kids.’

“They’re what makes me tick. I love them and I take care of them like they’re my children,” Stacey explained. “And I believe god put me on this earth to help take care of his critter babies. And I would never see harm to any of them.”

The two state their arrest interrupted their plan to send the animals to a better environment, knowing they couldn’t care for them.

“He ended up having surgery. And it was very difficult for him to take care of them,” she said.

“I would have to throw in the towel. It hurt. It hurt very much. I raised those bunnies from kids,” described Jimmy Ornduff.

“A rescue agency, Helping Paws, got involved with it. They had already seized about half,” said Stacey.

Stacey was in court last year for a similar situation. She said she took a plea bargain that stated she couldn’t own animals.

“I was allowed to be around animals,” said Stacey. “I just couldn’t be left alone with animals, according to my court papers. The judge said, you, yourself, alone cannot harbor or possess any vertebrate animal. So my husband had them housed 37 miles from where we were staying.”

Jimmy explained Stacey assisted him because there were things he could not do.

In total, Indiana State Police seized 35 rabbits and 2 guinea pigs that were placed in the care of Helping Paws Animal Rescue.

Stacy and Jimmy Ornduff both face one count each of misdemeanor animal neglect and are both set to appear in court Thursday.

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