Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 7, 2013

Cruelty case may be headed to trial

Don Lambert had 109 dogs at his home.

By Scott Smith

— A Kokomo man accused of animal cruelty after a September 2011 police raid appears headed to a jury trial.

An attorney for Don Lambert confirmed a Feb. 8 trial date during a pre-trial conference Monday in Howard Superior Court 3.

Lambert had 109 dogs at his North Apperson Way residence when police served a search warrant on the property.

Staff from the Kokomo Humane Society helped police during the raid, taking dogs out of Lambert’s home, his backyard and from an un-air-conditioned garage behind the home.

In the garage, dogs were kept two or three to a cage, and the cages were stacked two and three deep.

Melissa Justice, a field veterinarian from the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, examined all of the dogs and said seven of the animals were in significant pain from poor health conditions. All seven of the animals were later euthanized, after prosecutors asked Tate for permission.

The veterinarian said it was unlikely any of the seven would recover “in a timely manner and without significant pain ...”

Humane Society director Jean McGroarty later said about 90 percent of the dogs taken from the Lamberts’ property were later adopted out, with the remaining 10 percent euthanized.

Lambert’s case has now been delayed four times. Originally set for a bench trial in February 2012, Lambert’s attorney, Brad Hamilton, asked for a jury trial instead, pushing back the date to May 2012. Both prosecutors and Hamilton agreed to push that date back to August 2012, and then Hamilton subsequently asked for two delays.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.