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Woman faces animal and child neglect charges after multiple dead rabbits and ‘several inches’ of dog feces allegedly found at ‘unkempt’ residence ‘in very poor condition’

Amanda Chastain appears in a mugshot

Amanda Chastain appears in a mugshot from July 2023. (Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office)

An Indiana woman was arrested late last week after police discovered her children were living with multiple dead rabbits inside her residence, authorities said.

Amanda Chastain, 42, stands accused of two counts of neglect of a dependent, and 17 counts of animal neglect over allegedly unsafe conditions inside of her house on South Meridian Road in Mitchell, Indiana – a small town some 30 miles due south of Bloomington.

Animal Control Deputy Chad Hillenburg arrived at Chastain’s residence last Thursday in response to claims that “small animal pets” were not receiving the proper care they needed, according to a press release issued by the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

The initial outlook was grim, authorities claim, as the deputy found several “deceased domesticated rabbits on the porch.”

Chastain allegedly allowed the deputy to search the residence and inspect the other animals there. Hillenburg discovered more and more dead animals – including several additional dead rabbits, according to the sheriff’s office. Some rabbits were alive, however, those rabbits were “very malnourished,” according to the LCSO. One chinchilla was found that was said to be malnourished as well.

At least one of the dead rabbits was found inside the house, the LCSO alleged in the press release. An additional officer then helped the animal control deputy with an ensuing investigation into the state of the defendant’s residence.

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Larger animals allegedly fared little better in the Chastain house.

According to authorities, multiple dogs were being kept in crates inside of the residence. Those crates were allegedly filled with “several inches” of accumulated feces, the deputy said.

“The home was found to be unkempt and in very poor condition for healthy, safe habitation,” the sheriff’s office said in the press release. “Two juvenile children were living in the residence.”

The ages of the children have not been released by law enforcement. Both children were placed in the custody of the Hoosier State Department of Child Services, the LCSO said, before they were “placed in a safer environment with family.”

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According to the sheriff’s office, the defendant was arrested on July 6 and booked in the Lawrence County Jail. A jail spokesperson told Law&Crime that Chastain is no longer being detained there.

As for the animals who were still living at the time of the deputy’s visit, the White River Humane Society helped to transport and house the dogs, the sheriff’s office said. Two rabbits were quickly placed with foster families. And, after a call for help from the public, the chinchilla was fostered and placed “in a safe home” as well.

Law&Crime made several inquiries to the LCSO for additional details on this story but no response was immediately forthcoming at the time of publication.

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