Three individuals on an Ohio hog farm have been charged with animal cruelty. City of Canton prosecutor, Frank Forchione, has filed a total of 10 counts of animal cruelty against the farm's owner and two employees.

On November 8, 2006, law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at Wiles Farm in Wayne County, Ohio. Triggering the investigation was photo and video evidence provided by Humane Farming Association, based in San Francisco, as well as statements from some former farm employees. Criminal animal cruelty charges were filed on Jan. 16, against Wiles Farm owner Ken Wiles, his son and general manager Joe Wiles, and employee Dusty Stroud.

Some of the evidence documented intentional starvation of sick and injured pigs, severe overcrowding and cannibalism, beatings, and hanging pigs by the neck until dead.

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 practices that included grabbing and throwing pigs; torturing and killing animals, using inappropriate gun shots, depriving pigs of basic veterinary care, food, and water. 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. Another possible penalty is that Wiles will have to surrender the remaining animals on the farm.

Said an HFA spokesperson: "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."

The National Pork Producers Council responded to the original investigation with a statement emphasizing the importance of proper animal care on hog farms and all of agriculture; that U.S. pork producers are committed to their animals' well being and that the industry in no way condones such treatment.

Source: PRNewswire