Barton County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Golden Belt Humane Society and the Barton County Health Department in the execution of a search warrant at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. The two organizations had been investigating a case of animal cruelty and other charges, Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
Cletus Wolford, 63, of Ellinwood was taken into custody on charges of cruelty to animals, maintaining a public nuisance and obstruction of officers. He is being held the Barton County Jail in lieu of a $2,500 bond, and further charges may be sought.
According to Bellendir, the Sheriff’s Office and representatives from the Health Department and Humane Society searched a property in the 400 block of Northeast 110 Avenue (about four miles north of Ellinwood). “Upon entering the residence, excessive quantities of feces and extremely unsanitary conditions were observed.”
In all, 20 cats, four dogs and two chickens were removed from inside the residence. Another 10 cats, two dogs, a horse and a donkey were found outside of the residence.
A decaying horse carcass was also found in a barn, Bellendir said. It had been there for several months.
All the animals were taken to the Golden Belt Humane Society to be examined by a veterinarian. Many of the animals showed signs of neglect or poor health. The residence was deemed to be unlivable.