Man charged in deaths of animals found in alley in 2014
A man has been charged in connection with the mutilated animals found deceased in a South Bend alley last year.
Ares Lee Howard faces three counts of killing a domestic animal and eight counts of mutilating a vertebrate animal.
In March 2014, a resident called South Bend Police after finding multiple dead and mutilated animals in an alley in the area of E. Indiana Avenue.
There were ten cats, several squirrels, rabbits and an opossum.
An officer with South Bend Animal Control collected the animals and discovered several had puncture wounds consistent with pellets or small caliber ammunition.
During the investigation, officers learned Howard was a possible suspect and spoke with him and his wife.
At Howards' home, officers found a Daisy BB gun, a Ruger .22 pistol and several boxes of .22-caliber ammunition.
Outside, officers noted two holes in the fence overlooking the alley and neighboring yards. The officers noted the holes were large enough to see through and fit a gun barrel through.
There were also two holes in the fence overlooking a vacant lot where the animals were found.
In the garage, officers said they found a window on the east side covered by a blue blanket. The blanket had a hole cut in it, making it similar to a hunting blind, according to court documents.
Several days later, officers obtained a search warrant for Howards' computers.
Around the time of the news coverage of the dead animals discovered in the alley, there were internet searches on how to kill feral cats and the Indiana laws on search warrants.
Another resident who spoke with police said he tried to convince Howard to come forward and admit to killing the animals.
The witness said he had seen Howard bait the animals with cat food and hot dogs and had seen Howard kill a cat with a pellet rifle, according to investigators.
Necropsies were performed on eight of the ten cats.
- Cat 12133 – Three bullets were found in the cat and were the cause of death.
- Cat 12134 – Two bullets were found in the cat and were the cause of death.
- Cat 12135 – There were two bullet fragments in its neck and two in the head and were the cause of death.
- Cat 12520 – Bullet fragments and wound to its brain, which was its cause of death.
- Cat 12521 - No cause of death determined but four pellets/bullets were found in it.
- Cat 12523 – Projectile wounds in skull/brain which were cause of death.
- Cat 12524 – Four pellets in body with wound to the brain which was cause of death
- Cat 12525 – Projectile injury to its brain, skull and cervical vertebrae which was the cause of death. There were also multiple pellets and projectiles in its body.