Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10236
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment, Hanging, Throwing
Animal: pig
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Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006

County: Wood

Disposition: Not Charged
Case Images: 1 files available

Persons of Interest:
» Joe Wiles - Convicted
» Ken Wiles - Dismissed

Case Updates: 4 update(s) available

A special prosecutor is investigating allegations of animal abuse on a large hog farm in northeast Ohio.

The investigation was started after undercover video was taken on the farm. The Humane Farming Association -- a non-profit group that investigates animal abuse provided the video to authorities.

We showed the H.F.A.'s video. The video is very disturbing, but everything contained in it may be legal. That's why we showed it.

"There was an ad in the paper for farm labor, it said had dirty work, male or female, I answered it," said Ingrid DiMarino.

Soon after DiMarino had her dream job.

"I just thought it was going to be a fun job," she said.

She loves animals, even pigs.

"Never expected to find what was there," DiMarino said.

"I think that's the misunderstanding," Bob Baker said. "People think that there are agencies overseeing this."

Bob Baker is a field investigator with the Humane Farming Association.

"It made no sense what so ever."

He travels the country looking into cases of abuse. Ingrid tipped him off about this.

When Joe Wiles, the farmer's son and farm manager was asked, "do you guys abuse these animals? He said, "no"

"I have not, no I never abused them," said Wiles.

We agreed not to show you, who he is but Bob even called in the H.F.A.S undercover investigator who shot the video.

"I introduced him to Ingrid and Ingrid got him an employment out there. He wore a hidden camera the whole time he worked out there."

Of course on a hog farm, pigs die but the H.F.A. thinks they shouldn't be left to rot and decay.

"It stunk so bad I couldn't stand the smell we'd be gagging," said Ingrid.

"I don't think people realize what goes on," said Baker.

There are thousands of pigs at Wiles farm, sows, boars, and all sorts of piglets. What disturbed the H.F.A. is the way they were treated.

"They would throw the pigs around and especially the piglets," said Baker.

Ingrid says many end up with broken legs.

"These little pigs would just quiver. They were like real stunned and then they would grab them by the leg again and throw them into another crate," said DiMarino.

Ingrid says it never took long before they ended up in barrels.

"They put them on the floor, kick them, it was obvious they couldn't walk," said Ingrid.

If the pigs did manage to get around they're forced into small pens, rubbing against rails that often leave wounds.

"I wanted to treat wounds and they said no, that's not cost effective," claimed DiMarino.

"I mean they're confined to those things their whole lives until they go to slaughter," said Baker.

But many die much sooner.

Joe Wiles was asked, "Are you torturing them before they have to die?"

"I haven't tortured any animals. I don't torture them," he answered.

He went on to say they're treated well.

"As humanely as possible. Everything, how we euthanize our animals has been taken off the PETA website. Everything we do is through their guidelines," said Wiles.

PETA says the group does not allow the treatment caught on tape.

"I'm doing it to the laws of the state of Ohio. I'm following those laws, I'm following the federal laws, said Wiles.

To figure that out, Bob Baker handed all his video, pictures and evidence to the sheriff. Who raided the Wiles farm along with humane officers and vets from The Ohio State University.

When confronted with the fact the H.F.A. shot undercover video, Wiles denied any wrongdoing.

"I didn't see any pictures. There's the owner, you can talk to him," said the younger Wiles.

He pointed out his father but we tried talking with him several times but he declined.

"See you later thanks buddy," said Ken Wiles, the farm owner.

"I have nothing more to say. I'm going to ask you to please step off the property," said Joe Wiles.

"It's just appalling. I guess the thing that bothered me the most was, you have on video Ingrid yelling at them about the hanging and they stand there and laugh. They thought this was funny. One of them goes around and grabs the hog as it's hanging there and hugs it. These poor animals are hanging there suffocating," said Baker. Who went on about what he saw.

"There needs to be a message sent that this is not going to be tolerated in Ohio," he said.

"They need to close the farm down," claimed Ingrid.

What is clear, the behavior shown on the video doesn't mean any laws were broken. That's up to a prosecutor to decide. While no veterinary group we spoke to endorses the hanging of pigs, there is one group of veterinarians that accepts blunt force trauma as a form of euthanasia for piglets under 15 pounds.

The state and federal departments of agriculture do inspect for health reasons like e-coli outbreaks but the laws are relaxed on the humane handling of animals.


Case Updates

Wayne County hog farmer, Ken Wiles, has been exonerated of animal cruelty charges. That decision came June 20, 2007 after a two day bench trial in Wayne County.


The judge however, convicted Wiles' son, Joe, on a single count of animal cruelty. The charge was the result of the way in which Joe Wiles transported piglets to and from the family's farm in Creston. Wiles will have to pay a $200 fine, and received a year's probation.
The judge also ruled that there wasn't enough evidence against Joe Wiles on three other counts of animal cruelty and cleared him on those remaining charges.


The judge cleared Dusty Stroud, a farmhand at the Creston farm, on a charge of animal cruelty. Stroud could be seen on undercover video hanging a hog to its death. The case drew much attention both in Wayne County and with animal rights activists from around the country. The Humane Farming Association sent an undercover investigator to the farm to videotape the treatment of the hogs on the farm. The president of the HFA says the group is relieved the special prosecutor in the case was able to get at least one conviction. The judge said while he found the video of the hog being hanged offensive, there is no existing case law on the books in Ohio which makes the practice illegal. The HFA says it will continue the work to make the practice illegal in Wayne County as well as every other county across the country.
Source: WKYC - June 21, 2007
Update posted on Jun 21, 2007 - 5:56PM 
A pretrial hearing has been set for 1:30 p.m. March 15 in Wooster Municipal Court for three men facing animal cruelty charges in connection with a Creston pig farm.

Joe Wiles, general manager of Wiles Farm, faces six charges. Ken Wiles, owner of the farm, faces two charges. Farm employee Dusty Stroud faces two charges.

All the charges are misdemeanors.

The farm had been the target of the California-based Humane Farming Association, which bought full-page advertisements in area newspapers to publicize what it deemed ``a systematic violation of the state's anti-cruelty laws.''

Canton city prosecutor Frank Forchione, who was appointed as special prosecutor in this case, filed charges against the three men on Jan. 16 after a six-week investigation.

The men were arraigned on Jan. 30 and all pleaded not guilty.

``We'll meet with the judge and he'll set a trial date,'' Forchione said. ``We're ready to go.''

The case has been assigned to Judge Stuart Miller in Wooster Municipal Court.
Source: Akron Beacon Journal - Feb 27, 2007
Update posted on Feb 27, 2007 - 3:01PM 
The three men from a Creston pig farm who are accused of animal cruelty were in court Tuesday.

The three pleaded not guilty in Wooster Municipal Court.

The farm's general manager, Joe Wiles; owner Ken Wiles and employee Dusty Stroud all pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in Wooster Municipal Court. The charges carry as much as six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The farm came under scrutiny of investigators after the California-based Humane Farming Association took out full-page advertisements in area newspapers to publicize what it deemed "a systematic violation of the state's anti-cruelty laws.''

The trial is pending.
Source: Beacon Journal - Jan 31, 2007
Update posted on Jan 31, 2007 - 12:42PM 
Charges of animal cruelty have been filed against the owner of a pig farm, where prosecutors say the animals were hanged before being slaughtered.

Ken Wiles was charged Tuesday with two counts of animal cruelty in Municipal Court in Wooster. The farm's general manager Joe Wiles was charged with six counts and employee Dusty Stroud was charged with two counts.

The men were scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 30. If convicted, each faces up to 90 days in jail on each misdemeanor charge.

The farm's attorney, Russell Buzzelli of Wadsworth, said Wednesday that it was too soon to comment in detail but that he would have something to say later. He also represents Ken Wiles.

"My client is innocent," Buzzelli said.

Ken Wiles said he had no comment. There were no public telephone listings for Joe Wiles or Stroud.

Canton Prosecutor Frank Forchione, a special prosecutor, said the charges were filed after he viewed video taped by farm employees and after interviewing witnesses. He did not visit the farm in Creston in Wayne County, about 45 miles southwest of Cleveland.

The video, which aired on local television news, showed baby pigs being thrown into bins and larger pigs being kicked and beaten.

"It didn't matter whether or not I was able to set foot on the farm. Obviously, what was going on was disturbing. I just decided at that point that somebody has to speak up for the voiceless," Forchione said.

California-based Humane Farming Association bought full-page advertisements in area newspapers against the farm.

"We believe there finally should be jail time for animal abuse and cruelty of suffering in Ohio. Right now it is just a misdemeanor, but in many states, it would warrant a felony charge," said Bradley Miller, the association's director.
Source: Akron Beacon Journal - Jan 17, 2007
Update posted on Jan 18, 2007 - 12:52AM 

References

  • WKYC - Nov 30, 2006

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