Teen, 94 live animals removed from filthy Alex property

·4 min read

Aug. 29—ALEXANDRIA — An Alexandria woman was charged with animal neglect and neglect of a dependent after her 13-year-old daughter and 94 animals were removed from what Alexandria police reported was a feces- and urine-saturated home.

Nancy L. Clemmer, 58, 1500 block of Park Avenue, has been charged with Level 6 felony neglect of dependent, Class A misdemeanor neglect of a vertebrate animal and Class C Infraction, harboring a non-immunized dog, according to the probable cause affidavit prepared Aug. 18 by Detective Brian Holtzleiter.

Alexandria police had responded to about 15 complaints about animals that escaped their enclosures since June 3. Clemmer told police she wanted to turn the property into an animal rescue.

Clemmer's daughter, who was described as "filthy and had what appeared to be animal feces on her," was removed from the home and placed into foster care July 29.

Police also removed the 94 live animals, including 21 dogs, 21 guinea pigs and nine chickens, which were taken to animal rescues. Also found on the property were three pigs, six lizards and three chinchillas, in addition to several other types of animals.

Holtzleiter also called the Madison County Board of Health, which condemned the property the next day.

Clemmer was given 14 days from July 30 to improve the cleanliness of the property.However, Holtzleiter said that as of Aug. 18, not only the property's condition not been improved, but more trash had accumulated.

On a July 29 run after a report of pigs that had gotten loose, Holtzleiter reported seeing multiple animal pens erected on the property. Officers also found stacked crates containing what is believed to to be gerbils.

"Some of the pens were makeshift in nature and not robust enough to hold the animals placed inside," he wrote. "I observed two pigs running through the yard towards State Road 9. Nancy refused to help capture her loose pigs. The Alexandria Police Department spent the next two weeks chasing the pigs throughout a several mile area before they were finally apprehended on Aug. 12, 2021."

Holztleiter wrote Clemmer had fed the animals but made no attempts to clean up the feces. From the front door of the 10-bedroom house and a smaller adjacent residence on the property, Holtzleiter said he was met with the overwhelming smell of urine, feces and rot.

That main house, he said, appeared to be used exclusively for the animals, including birds, dogs and goats, which were allowed to roam freely, while Clemmer and her daughter appeared to live in the smaller house.

"The (main) house and property was full of so much trash and debris it took several minutes for me to clear a path on the outside to approach the front door," he said. "I attempted to go into the smaller house, however, the odor and fumes emitting from the residence was overpowering."

Holtzleiter, who has been a law enforcement officer for 10 years, said he had been in thousands of homes in various states of cleanliness and order, but this was the most unsanitary home he'd entered in his career.

"I observed through the window of the smaller house a large swarm of flies that was significant enough to be seen while standing over 20 feet away from the window," Holtzleiter reported.

On Aug. 13, Holtzleiter tried to make contact with Clemmer about the health of the animals and to obtain vaccination records for them from her, but she refused to answer the door.

That same Friday, he was granted a search warrant that let him seize the animals and send them to rescues.

Again, the odor and fumes were so overwhelming, Holtzleiter said, he had to request full face masks and air bottles from the Alexandria Fire Department. After assessing the situation, AFD officials contacted the Madison County Hazardous Materials Team.

"The odor from the eastern two bedrooms caused a representative from the Madison County Health Department to vomit," Holtzleiter said.

He reported finding several dead animals, including a raccoon in a food bin, a guinea pig in a trash can and a trough containing six decomposing baby chickens inside the large house. In the smaller house, two decomposing ferretlike creatures were found in a cage in addition to several dead dogs and a dead macaw.

"Nancy states she had thrown away approximately 11 other deceased guinea pigs over the weekend," Holtzleiter said.

Holtzleiter said some of the animals found alive had water and shade and others didn't.

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.

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