Several dead puppies found in west Louisville home, 2 indicted for animal torture
"The Jefferson County Sheriff's office was doing a set out where they evicted the tenant," Officer Gast testified. "They were removing the property from the house. The sheriff's office had already cleared from the scene when the property owner heard whimpering coming from the cellar area, and that's when they discovered the dog."
Gast said the sound was coming from a cellar.
"There was no lighting down there, so it was basically going into a hole, with a dirt floor," he said. "Drafty. Just basically going down into a dungeon almost."
The sheriff's officers found a dog in a carrying cage, with both its upper and lower jaws stuck in the metal wiring.
"The dog's upper and lower jaws locked in the door of the kennel where it could not free itself and…much mucussy discharge over the eyes where the dog either could barely see, or not see," he said.
That's not all that was in the cage, according to Gast.
"There were four additional animals in the box…they were puppies that apparently the parent – this female dog – had when she was stuck in the door of the…"
"Were the puppies alive?" interjected the prosecutor.
"They were not. They were dead. They were still in their embryonic sacks because she was unable to reach them because she was stuck in the door," Gast said.
Gast testified that veterinarians determined that the dog had been in the cage for "approximately seven days." He said the there was a bowl in the cage that may have contained water at one time, but that it was "dry" when they found the dogs.
"We did find evidence of food in there," he said. "There was a lot of feces, and obviously with no food there's no feces."
"If the dog decided it was abandoned it may have decided it needed to chew its way out," Gast said. "A pregnant dog that felt like it was in a situation that was not safe to deliver her puppies would try to exit that situation and go to another, better situation to have her puppies."
Gast said veterinarians were able to use pliers to remove the female dog's teeth from the cage and get her out. He said part of her jawbone was exposed, but that she had since been treated and is now, "in good condition and it's healthy."
He said the body of another dog was found in a nearby yard, and that it had been tied to the suspects as well.
Defense attorneys for the suspects pointed out that they were -- in fact -- being evicted. They also argued that the suspects didn't intentionally hurt the dogs.
As for the puppies, one defense attorney pointed out that they weren't fully-grown dogs.
"There actually might be a question as to whether or not they were dogs at the time, given that they were still in their embryonic sack," the defense attorney said.
But the prosecutor vehemently disagreed.
"The dog was placed in carrying case. You put a dog in a carrying case to take it out of the house. Not to put it in the basement," he shouted. "Not a pregnant dog that you know is pregnant. There is no possible other intention than to subject to any kind of infliction of injury or suffering. I think that is clear. We have met the specific intent requirement of the motivation to suffer. Judge, there is no other motivation here. The dog was left for at least a week, sustained serious physical injury. It's bone was exposed. It's teeth had to be pried out of the gate."
The judge agreed and found probable cause to proceed to a grand jury. The grand jury's decision to indict this week means that the case can proceed to a trial.
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