Days after taking 23 animals out of “deplorable” conditions from a home on St. Johns Road, officials have seized nine more dogs and one horse from the property and are considering condemning the entire home.
The seizure came after its owners pleaded not guilty Monday to multiple counts of animal cruelty, saying they didn’t understand the charges against them.
William Coy, 48, and his wife Sandra, 55, were arraigned by video in Franklin District Court on 23 counts of second-degree animal cruelty after officials seized 19 pit bulls and four birds from their property Friday.
They left dozens of other animals including llamas, pigs, goats and pit bulls on the property.
Assistant County Attorney David Garnett requested in court Monday that if the Coys make bail, they should surrender the remaining animals. The couple has been lodged at Franklin County Regional Jail on $46,000 bonds since Friday.
Franklin District Judge Chris Olds granted that motion, but Sandra Coy said she couldn’t afford bail.
“I have no home, I have nothing … I literally have nothing anymore,” Coy said.
Today, officials with the Franklin County Heath Department and Franklin County Planning, Zoning and Building Code Enforcement along with Sheriff Pat Melton are touring the home to determine if it needs to be condemned.
“The house is a health hazard,” Melton said. “It’s unfit, with fleas and mice and everything else that’s in there.
“It’s not fit for anybody to live in, nor any animal.”
Melton said he wasn’t sure what Coy was referring to in court, saying the decision to look at her home was made after Monday’s arraignment.
Olds asked the Coys if they understood the charges against them, and they both responded, “Not really.”
After court, Olds relinquished custody of all the remaining animals to the Franklin County Humane Society.
A group including Melton, City Animal Control Officer Mark Pardi and County Animal Control Officer Hannah Perdue assisted in rescuing a horse and the nine remaining dogs from the Coys’ home Monday afternoon.
Trash, broken glass and feces littered the property, while clouds of flies buzzed overhead. About a dozen goats were scattered across a barren hill, and a few pigs sought shelter in the stagnant creek that ran through the property.
“They told us that’s where they get their water from,” Melton said, shaking his head.
The dogs, barking at first, later wagged their tails as they were led off the property and into the back of Perdue and Pardi’s trucks.
“They’re happy to get out of here,” Perdue said, as she led one pit bull away from the yard.
The nine dogs rescued Monday were delivered to the shelter, while a horse was taken to an undisclosed location.
Humane Society Shelter Manager Nancy Benton, who was at Monday’s arraignment, said the shelter is now overwhelmed with animals and is in desperate need of donations.
“We’re already at capacity with the 19 dogs (from Friday),” Benton said. “This is going to put us way over the top.
“There’s a lot of vetting that needs to be done, X-rays and surgeries. We need the community to step up and help support us.”
While the Coys are in court, the dogs have to remain at the shelter, pending a change in court order. But the Humane Society isn’t equipped to take in the farm animals that remain on the Coys’ property.
Those animals will be rescued Wednesday and taken to undisclosed locations. Jeanine Sloan, the shelter’s rescue coordinator, said she’s received several offers for most of the animals, but is still looking for people to take in two roosters and two pot-bellied pigs.
She said anyone willing to take those animals can call the Humane Society.
Melton said some of the dogs seemed skittish around Pardi and took better to Perdue, a sign that they may have been abused by a male at some point.
Benton alleged the Coys made their money breeding pit bulls, possibly for the use of dog fighting.
Melton and Perdue said there are cuts and abrasions on several of the dogs, but it’s unknown how the marks got there. Melton said the Coys told him they had rescued the dogs from an unnamed location.
Depending on the condition of the other dogs and farm animals, County Attorney Rick Sparks said the Coys may face more charges. He said he was made aware Monday of a goat that had to be put down Friday because it was missing part of its face.
Perdue said it appeared an animal, possibly one of the pit bulls, had bitten off the goat’s nose and mouth. Pictures of the goat showed maggots and flies infesting the gaping wounds.
Video of another goat showed the animal walking only on its two front feet. Perdue said the back legs were in such bad shape that the goat couldn’t use them.
Sandra Coy announced at arraignment that once this case is finished, she would be moving out of the area.
“I will be leaving Franklin County; I will be leaving the state of Kentucky when this is done,” Coy said. “I have nothing. You’ve taken my animals, you’ve taken my home.”
Benton said that’s good news and bad news.
“Obviously it’s good for us, but bad for wherever she goes,” Benton said. “So we need to send a good warning to whatever other county she’s going to, to let them know to be on top of her immediately.”
The Coys came to Franklin County after facing animal cruelty 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.
Shortly after they arrived in Franklin County, The State Journal reported in early 2009 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.
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.
The Coys are due back in court Aug. 28 for preliminary hearings. Under Kentucky law, second-degree animal cruelty is a misdemeanor, so the maximum penalty the Coys face is one year in jail and/or a $500 fine.
Based on their history and the number of charges, Sparks said he doesn’t plan on pleading the Coys out, and he wants the Coys to go to trial.
“It’s always possible for a plea deal, but right now, I’m not inclined to offer anything,” Sparks said.
“At this point, based on what I’m aware of, a jury will decide their fate.”
HOW TO HELP
The dogs seized from the Coys’ property can’t be adopted or fostered, pending a court order. But other animals can be adopted or fostered, which would free space.
The shelter is open for adoptions Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Benton said the Coys’ animals need lots of medical attention, so the shelter is in dire need of donations to help cover those expenses. Contact the shelter at 875-7297 for more information.