Florida

Florida deputy ‘nearly falls over’ from pig poop. The owner was arrested, cops say

In May, Palm Beach code enforcement requested a deputy go out to a property in Belle Glade, owned by 72-year-old Eric Clarke, where animals may be in distress. Two pigs were found in a box of their own feces and a goat with overgrown hooves.
In May, Palm Beach code enforcement requested a deputy go out to a property in Belle Glade, owned by 72-year-old Eric Clarke, where animals may be in distress. Two pigs were found in a box of their own feces and a goat with overgrown hooves. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

A Palm Beach County deputy was looking for animals in distress and found a box filled with poop and two pigs.

In May, county code enforcement officers requested a deputy go out to a property in Belle Glade owned by 72-year-old Eric Clarke. They had a report of animals in distress, according to a sheriff’s office affidavit.

When the deputy arrived, he saw large piles of garbage and several makeshift pens. After taking pictures, he tried to find food and water in the pens, deputies said.

He couldn’t find any receptacles that would hold water.

Instead, he found two large male pigs in a wooden box with no ventilation. The deputy “nearly fell over at the smell that emanated from the box when he opened it.”

The box was full of feces from the pigs and the amount of it had been from more than one day, deputies said.

It was 88 degrees outside when he found the pigs.

While waiting for animal control to come with a trailer to pick up the animals, he saw a goat on the property but not in a pen. The goat had severely overgrown hooves and would not stand on them.

The goat went down on its knees, deputies said. It had a large abscess on its face and most of its ribs and spine were showing.

Clarke, the owner of the animals, arrived when the deputy and animal control were at the property. The deputy said Clarke told him that he cares for the animals every day.

When the deputy asked where the water is for the animals was, Clarke took him to a nearby canal and filled a small bucket with water. When they walked back to where the pigs were Clarke couldn’t find anything to pour the water in.

In July, deputies received a medical report on the goat. It said she had slight fat pads over her eye muscles, an abscess on her neck and her hooves were about 3 inches when they should have been about 1.5 inches long.

“These overgrown hooves made it very painful for goat to walk and she liked to lay down most of the time. It would have taken years for the hoofs to be this overgrown,” the report said.

Clarke was charged with three counts of animal cruelty and two counts of animal abandonment or confinement. He was booked into jail Tuesday and released later in the day.

Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.
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