A Kentucky woman is charged with 35 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.
Per local paper the News-EnterpriseHardin County Police discovered 21 dead dogs in and around Morgan Barrick’s home in Radcliff, a small city 30 miles from Louisville.
Officers acted on the tip of a dog owner who could not reach 26-year-old Barrick. While at the property, law enforcement noticed a smell coming from the residence, per Radcliff Police Chief Jeff Cross. They then issued a search warrant, going on to make an arrest.
Barrick owned a dog breeding business where he acted as a dog show trainer and handler. Many owners boarded their pets with the woman so they could compete in dog shows.
According to the police report, authorities found two dogs that were decomposed inside a van, wrapped up in plastic with “with some type of white substance on the carcasses.” Other corpses were found, which were partially eaten by other starving canines.
In addition to the dead animals, 14 other dogs—12 being puppies—were found malnourished as they were left with no water and hardly any food. Other dogs were said to “physically appear to be in jeopardy.”
“The animals still alive were very skinny to the point that bony structures such as rib cages, elbows and hips could easily be identified,” the citation reads.
Police Captain Willie Wells stated, “It’s very disturbing and heartbreaking, especially for the animal owners who may have entrusted her with the care and custody of their animals.”
the News-Enterprise notes that Morgan Barrick was freed on a $2,500 bond on May 5. She coached girl’s basketball at John Hardin High, and a spokesperson for the school said she’s been fired.
Officials confirmed the Hardin County Animal Shelter took custody of all remaining living pups.
Speaking to WHAS 11, Cheyenne Collins, whose dog Cane was found dead at home, said, “Animal Control told me I could not receive his ashes. I can’t get a footprint, not even a little shave of hair because they couldn’t even tell me what color he was. The only way they could identify my dog was his microchip. … That was my best friend. I can’t even bring him home in a box, and [Barrick] doesn’t have any sort of remorse or any explanation—nothing.”
Other owners have spoken out about Barrick’s actions on social media as they try to bring media attention to the situation.
Dog owner Maryann Carter-Laventure, whose pet Cyrus suffered a similar fate to Cane, spoke on the mistreatment. “A little over a year ago, I boarded my dog with [Barrick] because she was a show handler. I sent him to her for handling. He was being starved and tortured. He had burnt testicles, burns on his abdomen, burns on his nose and he was starved from 140 pounds to 96 pounds.”
“I’ve been advocating on Facebook,” she mentioned, saying she’s writing posts under #JusticeforCyrus. “I just want her to be punished to the full extent of the law because now 21 dogs were found dead in her care.”
Kentucky animal abuse laws are relaxed compared to other states. Animal cruelty charges result in a Class A misdemeanor rather than a felony. Barrick will appear in court on May 31.