Couple plead guilty in dog abuse case

McCarthys not allowed to own animals

By Sarah Bennett
Monday, August 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm (Updated: August 21, 3:49 am)

A Vine Grove couple accused of mistreating more than 100 dogs in their care pleaded guilty Monday to 75 counts of second-degree animal cruelty in Hardin District Court.

Brian and Joyce McCarthy were arrested in March and charged with more than 100 counts of animal cruelty after officials removed 103 dogs from their Gaylene Drive residence.

According to law enforcement, the animals were living in dirty cages in 80-degree heat without water. Police said one dead dog was found inside a cage with a nursing mother.

In court documents, Joyce McCarthy indicated she was self-employed and raised the dogs, earning about $1,000 per month.

Assistant County Attorney Michael Howard said the 75 counts the McCarthys pleaded guilty to accounts for the dogs that were in cages without food or water at the time of arrest.

According to Kentucky Revised Statute 525.130, a person is guilty of second-degree animal cruelty when “failing to provide adequate food, drink, space or health care.”

“It was more clear cut with the ones in cages,” Howard said.

The defendants were sentenced Monday to 365 days in jail, which will be probated for two years, he said, the maximum amount of probation for district court.

The McCarthys were eligible for probation because neither had a criminal history prior to this case, Howard said.

In addition to no further violations, conditions of probation include not owning any animals, he said.

“That’s where we stood our ground,” Howard said.

Since law enforcement confiscated the dogs March 21, the animals have been in the care of Hardin County Animal Control. Because they were evidence in the pending court case, they were not eligible for adoption.

“All along, we pushed for speedy resolution because of the dogs,” Howard said.

With a conclusion reached, the dogs now can be adopted through Animal Control.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.

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