BROWNSBURG, Ind — A Brownsburg woman is facing multiple child neglect and animal cruelty charges after a Hendricks County Department of Child Services worker found her home in "deplorable" living conditions.
The DCS worker contacted police, saying there was dog feces all over Jennifer Lair's Brownsburg home. Lair's 8-year-old son lives with her, but the boy's father — Lair's estranged husband — told the case worker he had packed up most of his son's belongings from his mother's home and planned for him to stay in Mooresville with the boy's grandparents.
When the case manager questioned the boy at his dad's house, he said there are six dogs and two cats in his mother's home. He said Lair makes him clean up the dog poop because "her back hurts."
Due to pending charges, Lair is not allowed to have any animals in the home.
DCS, Hendricks and Morgan Animal Control, and Brownsburg Police checked Lair's home on May 16. No one was home at the time. They found a cat outside the home that, according to a neighbor, belonged to Lair. They also found a dead dog in a trash can outside. They requested a search warrant for the home.
Inside, they found the home in "disgusting condition," according to the probably cause affidavit, despite apparent efforts to recently clean it.
On May 22, the Morgan County Sheriff's Department made contact with Lair in Brooklyn, Indiana. Deputies went to her home and could see a dog cage in a vehicle parked outside that had a dead dog inside.
Lair identified the vehicle as hers and said she wanted help from animal control or a vet for disposing of it. According to the deputy's probable cause report, there were bodily fluids coming from the dead dog, seeping into the cage. Despite Lair's claim that the dog had died overnight, deputies said it appeared to have been dead in the heat "for some time."
Lair later told deputies she left the dog inside the car while she went to Walmart on May 20 and when she returned, the dog was dead. Surveillance showed Lair's car in the Brownsburg Walmart parking lot on that day with her son also in the car. In a later interview with DCS, the boy said the dog had been dead in the car when they were at Walmart.
Lair's estranged husband told the DCS worker he "freaked out" when he saw the condition of her home. He said there were animals everywhere with feces and blood mixed on the walls and clumps of fur in various rooms and on beds. He had been moved out of the home for approximately two weeks. He said when he went to pick up his son from the home, he "smelled of death."
He said he was unaware of the dead dog deputies found, but said Lair later told him another dog attacked it and it died. His son told the case worker about other dead dogs that have been in the house, and said his mother does not feed them.
Lair is facing two charges of neglect of a dependent, a level 6 felony, and two charges of animal cruelty. A court date has not yet been set.