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Middlesboro couple charged with 77 counts in "worst case of animal cruelty I have seen in 18 years"

From WRIL The Big One -

As we reported on Wednesday July 26th, Middlesboro Police Executed a search warrant on a Lothbury Avenue residence after an anonymous tip was reported to Bell County Animal Control in regard to animal cruelty taking place at the home.

Now Officer Bucky Harris has charged two people in the case.


Once at the home belonging to Woodrow and Althea Wyatt, MPD led by Officer Harris was met by Animal Control Director Patsy Bracken who showed him dogs found in knee high grass in the yard in different stages of mange. Another set of dogs were in a pen covered with urine and fecal matter and the water in the dogs buckets were black with mold on top.


Inside the residence, officers, Director Bracken and Commonwealth Attorney Chris Douglas found dozens of dogs in multiple cages stacked on upon the other with the animals defecating on the ones below them. The dogs had little to no water or food.


In an outside block building more dogs were found with matted hair and mange so bad they were unable to walk. Unfortunately nine of the dogs had to be euthanized immediately. Bracken told the officer that in 18 years this was "the worst case of animal cruelty she had seen."

At another property on Homerun Road another dog was found to be malnourished and was removed. While horses were mentioned by individuals commenting on our initial story, none were found to be neglected or abused.


A total of 77 animals were taken including a cat, 13 rabbits, and 63 dogs.


The Wyatt's have been cited to court on 77 counts of animal cruelty and their first court appearance is August 29th at 9:00am in Bell District Court.


Friends of the Bell County Animal Shelter posted on Facebook that they are assisting the shelter in finding rescues to help the pets that were removed. Chris Rheyes of For P.E.T.SAKE and Noah’s Arc took 37 of the dogs into rescue so far. Noah’s Arc also donated a van to the Animal Shelter to assist in transport of the animals. Kentucky Paws of London took 11 bunnies and 6 dogs on Thursday the 27th and will return for more. The Kentucky Division of the Humane Society of the United States and several other rescue groups are also assisting.


Assisting during the investigation were Middlesboro Officers Johnathan Kinder, Jake Partin, Keith Baker, and Sgt. Harvey Johnson along with Bell County Deputy Jody Risner.


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