SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Following an extensive investigation by the San Francisco-based Humane Farming Association (HFA), City of Canton, Ohio, Prosecutor Frank Forchione has filed a total of ten counts of animal cruelty against a pig factory farm owner and two of his employees. Arraignment for those charged is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30 at 1:30 pm at Wayne County Municipal Court in Wooster. HFA National Director Bradley Miller will be present at the arraignment where he will be available for media interviews. He can be reached by contacting Gail Eisnitz at (828) 299-1246. On November 8, 2006, law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at Wiles Farm in Wayne County, Ohio, based on evidence provided by HFA and former employees of the facility. On January 16, criminal animal cruelty charges were filed against Wiles Farm owner Ken Wiles, his son, general manager Joe Wiles, and employee Dusty Stroud. Special Prosecutor Forchione was appointed to investigate the case because a Wiles family member is employed by the Wayne County prosecutor's office. HFA provided photographic and video evidence documenting the intentional starvation at Wiles Farm of sick and injured pigs, forcing pigs to live in their own wastes, severe overcrowding and cannibalism, beatings, and the hanging by the neck until death of fully conscious, struggling pigs. "Although we believe there should have been additional cruelty charges due to the large number of animals involved," said Bradley Miller, "we are pleased that the special prosecutor is taking this case seriously." Ken Wiles was charged with one count of animal cruelty for "failing to provide appropriate care for ill and injured animals which permitted them to suffer protracted deaths" and a second count for "failure to provide adequate shelter ... food and water for the animals." Joe Wiles was charged with six counts of animal cruelty for such practices as "grabbing [pigs] and throwing them by their ears and legs ... mutilating and killing animals by hangings, using inappropriate gun shots ... depriving pigs of basic veterinary care, food, and water ... beating animals to death with hammers, or having their heads slammed into walls and floors ... and torture of animals." Dusty Stroud was charged with two counts of "beating" and "torturing" animals. Each misdemeanor charge carries a potential penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Also a possible penalty: the mandatory surrender of the remaining animals on the farm. "We believe that such horrific acts of cruelty, such as subjecting pigs to slow death by hanging, warrant felony charges," said Miller. "In many states, the kind of animal abuse documented at Wiles Farm would trigger felony prosecution. This underscores the need to strengthen Ohio's animal cruelty statutes." Contact: Gail Eisnitz, +1-828-299-1246.
SOURCE Humane Farming Association