BEE SPRING — Area animal advocates came to the rescue of about 60 animals Saturday at the Edmonson County Animal Shelter, a day after the shelter's director was charged with second-degree animal cruelty following the discovery of dozens of cats and dogs – including four dead ones – in what police called an "extremely poor" environment.
Kim Carroll, 50, of Bee Spring, was cited – meaning she was order to appear in court but was not taken into custody – late Friday evening by Kentucky State Police after one dead dog and three dead cats were found at the shelter, where animals were without water and appeared to be malnourished. Several other animals have since been euthanized.
On Friday, Cheryl Bartlett, a board member of the Owensboro Humane Society, arrived at the the Edmonson County shelter to pick up dogs and one of her children discovered a dead dog in an outdoor kennel with other dogs. Some of the outdoor dogs had no water in their dishes, she said. Bartlett called the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, which eventually asked state police to respond.
Meanwhile, Kim Carroll's husband, Greg Carroll, arrived at the shelter, Bartlett said Saturday.
"He got the water hose and started frantically watering the animals ... and he removed the dead dog," Bartlett said.
It's unclear where that dead animal was taken.
In 2015, a Daily News investigative team visited the shelter on multiple occasions, each time noting conditions that appeared to fall short of guidelines for shelters offered by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Animals were in cages that were too small, were underweight and some were without water.
At the time, Kim Carroll said the cramped conditions for some dogs were only temporary.
"If they have to stay in that situation for a day or maybe even a few days, it’s more humane than to put them down because we’re out of space,” she told the newspaper at the time.
Kim Carroll told a Daily News photographer Saturday that she didn't want the photographer to be on private property. A voicemail left on the cellphone number listed for the Edmonson County Animal Shelter was not returned.
Conditions at the shelter Saturday were no better than a year ago.
Workers had to euthanize one of the dogs that looked like it hadn't eaten in weeks. The animal was skin and bones, and its feet were covered in sores. Three feral cats, covered in their own feces and flies, were piled into a single cage – one of them had urine burns on its feet that had burned away the fur and skin. Most of the dogs appeared underweight. Two more dogs were euthanized in Bowling Green because they were aggressive toward other animals, and many of the cats also were euthanized due to illness and aggression.
The Edmonson shelter had taken in animals via contracts with governments of Edmonson, Hart, Grayson and Metcalfe counties.
At the time of the 2015 Daily News investigation, Edmonson County Judge-Executive Wil Cannon said he stood behind the operation of the shelter. Cannon, when reached Saturday on vacation, said he was not aware enough of the situation to comment.
"I've just got bits and pieces by text message ... so until I get back in town, I really won't have an idea of what is going on," he said.
Bartlett said she has been getting dogs from the shelter for about two years and said it's hard to find the words to describe the conditions.
"It is reprehensible ... disgusting," she said.
"This day should have come sooner," Bartlett said of the apparent closing of the Edmonson County shelter.
Lorri Hare, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society, told the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office that she would take what animals the county has to pick up.
What will happen to animals in Grayson County – at least those outside Leitchfield – is unclear. Jessica Fulkerson is starting Twin Lakes Humane Society in Grayson County and has been trying to negotiate an agreement between the Leitchfield and Grayson County governments for animals outside the city limits to be accepted at the city's animal shelter. That hasn't worked out so far, so the county has been paying to send its strays to Edmonson County.
"I really don't know what is going to happen now," Fulkerson said.
Hare said counties that relied on the Edmonson shelter will need to come up with a plan.
Margie Patton, retired executive director of Barren River Animal Welfare Association, went to the Edmonson County shelter Saturday to bring some of the animals to BRAWA in Glasgow.
"It looked to me like Miss Carroll had been there cleaning up ... but it was still in filthy conditions," said Patton, who had been at the shelter before.
"Two of the dogs we got had been sitting in their own urine for some time," she said. "They have white coats and were stained yellow. Our cars really smell right now. Everyone is in the process of getting bathed, vaccinated and dewormed. They should be feeling a whole lot better by tomorrow."
BRAWA took 12 cats and 16 dogs that will be available for immediate adoption as soon as they receive veterinary care, she said.
"They have been turned over so they can be adopted," Patton said. "They don't have to be held for court proceedings. That was part of the deal."
Meanwhile, animals brought to the Bowling Green shelter also began receiving care Saturday. The smell of waste matted in their coats was apparent, but the dogs appeared happy to have human contact as they were scanned for microchips, weighed and vaccinated. They also will be wormed, bathed and have ticks removed.
Hare said about 10 volunteers went to Edmonson County to bring the animals to Bowling Green and about 20 will help to prepare them for adoption. People can come now to look at them. The healthier ones will be available for adoption Monday and it may take longer for those that are found to be less healthy.
In addition to animals going to Glasgow and Owensboro, some will go to Nashville, so Hare wasn't sure how many she will end up with at the Bowling Green shelter.
Asked for her reaction of Saturday's situation, Patton choked up.
"It is hard to explain when you see something like this how it makes you feel and keeps you up at night," Patton said. "It felt good to get over there and get the guys out. I've been worried about this for a long time. The shelter doesn't begin to meet minimal standards for care. ... So it's difficult to see and it's frustrating.
"My fondest hope is that the place will be closed."
— Photo editor Miranda Pederson contributed information for this article.
— Follow city editor Robyn L. Minor on Twitter at @bowserminor or visit bgdailynews.com.