A Franklin County couple is facing more than 20 counts of animal cruelty after deputies seized nearly two dozen animals – two with “botched amputations” – from their home on St. Johns Road.
Sandra Coy, 55, and her husband William, 48, of 3387 St. Johns Road, were arrested Friday night and charged with 23 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton told The State Journal deputies executed a search warrant and seized 19 dogs and four birds from the Coys’ property Friday night.
The warrant was issued after deputies responded to two animal cruelty complaints at the couple’s residence Friday afternoon. When deputies arrived, they discovered a dead dog in the yard, Melton said.
County Attorney Rick Sparks, who drafted the warrant, said it appeared the dog choked on its chain.
“It was alleged that a dog died as a result of being chained, and, in attempting to get water, it appeared to have strangled itself in trying to claw out of a pit,” Sparks said Saturday afternoon.
Deputies executed the search warrant around 9 p.m. Friday and found “deplorable” conditions, Melton said.
“They had no food, no water – feces everywhere,” Melton said. “It was just horrible.”
Shelter Manager Nancy Benton and other members of the Franklin County Humane Society picked up the animals and transported them back to the shelter. Benton said the conditions were “miserable.”
“From what I could see of the house, it looked like what you see on TV, with ‘Animal Hoarders,’” Benton said, referring to a cable television show that features people who own a large number of pets that are usually uncared for. “(There was) trash everywhere, fecal matter everywhere, these guys were all chained up … it was filthy.”
Melton said the property had no electricity and the home was littered with broken light bulbs.
Most of the dogs seized were pit bull mixes, with a few terrier mixes and one beagle mix. One of the terriers had a leg missing and a pit bull had a paw missing – probably the result of “botched amputations,” Benton said.
Several dogs also had ear infections, and most of the dogs had bald spots – likely due to hair loss from itching at fleas, Benton said. A few dogs also appeared to be blind in one eye from eye injuries.
Four birds – one ringneck parakeet, one umbrella cockatoo and two cockatiels – were also seized from the property and are being held at the shelter. Benton said the birds have respiratory problems, likely caused by “all the dust and the filth.”
City and county animal control officers and members of the Franklin County Fire Department also assisted in removing the animals, Melton said.
Benton said officials removed only “the worst of the worst” from the property. A number of animals, including llamas, pigs and several pit bulls, remain at the property.
The Coys are lodged at Franklin County Regional Jail on $46,000 full cash bonds. They are due in Franklin District Court Monday morning.
At least for now, the animals can’t be adopted or fostered – they have to remain at the shelter, pending a change in a court order. Benton said the shelter is accepting donations for the animals’ care, which will likely involve long-term medical treatment, she said.
Under Kentucky law, second-degree animal cruelty is a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty the Coys face is one year in jail and/or a $500 fine, Sparks said.
This isn’t the first time the Coys have faced animal cruelty charges. In early 2009, The State Journal reported the couple was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty after officials raided the couple’s home in December 2008 and seized 11 pit bulls. According to court documents, three of those dogs later died.
In that instance, Sandra Coy was charged with 19 counts of not vaccinating her dogs against rabies. A jury found her guilty of one count each of animal cruelty and failing to vaccinate dogs against rabies. William Coy was found not guilty.
Before coming to Franklin County, the Coys faced similar charges in LaRue County. According to the Hardin County News-Enterprise, they were forced to leave the county in August 2007 after authorities seized more than 40 dogs and puppies from their home. Eleven of those dogs later died.
A few months ago, deputies were called to the Coys home for complaints regarding the condition of their horses and several dogs. Sandra Coy relinquished custody of two malnourished horses to the sheriff, and she was charged with 16 counts of failure to vaccinate dogs against rabies.