Animals under Bald Knob resident Sandra Coy’s care don’t always make it out alive.
Malnourished dogs confiscated here and in LaRue County have died, and she’s been convicted of animal cruelty.
But it’s going to be a happier fate for the two horses Coy willingly surrendered to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office this week. A third horse will remain on her 3387 St. Johns Road property.
Animal control officer Todd Moore has kept an eye on Coy’s three horses since the Sheriff’s Office received the first complaint in January.
Though the horses’ ribs stick out, their hair is matted and they’ve been fenced in a small grassless area, the state livestock investigator declared them healthy, and they’ve always been supplied with food and water.
Legally, Sheriff Pat Melton says his hands are tied, despite the fact that neighbors, community members and others who saw the horses were incensed.
“They were very underfed, definitely malnourished, very wormy – they hadn’t been dewormed in a while,” said horse transporter Mark Brown, who volunteered to help rescue one of the horses.
“The facility itself was not conducive for a horse getting around, it was so rough.
Their hair looked terrible … I have seen horses in worse conditions, but they were definitely on their way to that stage.”
Today, the two brown thoroughbreds are in better homes.
Though he wouldn’t disclose their separate locations, Melton said seeing the horses walk out into green pastures was something he won’t forget.
“It was so good to see,” Melton said, relieved after several months of worry. “I was tickled to death.”
Melton said he and Moore were finally able to speak with Coy about the horses after months of monitoring the situation, and Coy “was very agreeable to surrendering the horses.”
Coy, 55, an employee at Bob’s Hay Barn in Shelbyville, who is also receiving ire from the community for helping organize and attending the white pride rally at the Capitol April 21, told the sheriff she rescued the brown horses in January. They were in bad shape when she got them, and she said she was trying to get them healthy again.
“It was a very unfortunate situation,” Melton said. “In talking to her, it seemed like she had good intentions.
“She was very upset, very emotional because she said she was just trying to help these animals, make a better life for them.”
The State Journal was unable to contact Coy and her husband, William Coy, 45, who has never been convicted of animal cruelty like his wife, though reporters made several trips to the St. Johns Road property.
After Coy surrendered the thoroughbreds, Moore, Melton and other deputies loaded the first one without difficulty Tuesday. The second wasn’t as easy, Melton said. They tried to load it on a trailer four times before calling Brown from Brook Ledge Horse Transportation in Lexington.
Thursday afternoon, Brown, along with veterinarian Ben Stivers, loaded the horse within 20 minutes.
Brown has been working with horses for 35 years, and he said he volunteered his time when he realized there was a horse in need.
“There is no excuse for how that horse looked,” he said Friday. “The horse is a majestic animal. To see a horse in that condition hurt my feelings. It’s not right, period. It’s not fair to the animal.”
Along with the grey mare, several others animals remain with the Coys, including 16 chained dogs, some of which are vicious. Chickens, llamas and goats are also fenced in on the hilly, wooded property, which is littered with broken-down belongings.
The Sheriff’s Office cited Sandra Coy this week for 16 charges of dogs to be vaccinated against rabies. Her case will be heard in Franklin District Court.
Coy told Melton she had the dogs vaccinated and will produce the proof to the judge.
That is the only legal action the county is taking against Coy at this time, Melton said.
“Above all we have to deal with the facts and factual information,” Melton said Friday. “And above all we have to respect people’s rights.”