PHOTOS: Letcher County couple accused of torturing dog to death, mistreating others

Published: Aug. 2, 2018 at 6:18 PM EDT
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A Letcher County couple is behind bars after they allegedly tortured a dog to death and mistreated four others.

Letcher County Animal Control officers say Barry Jensen and Meghan Sturgill tortured a dog by starving it and not giving it water.

The dog, a shepherd-mix named Wolfie, was being treated by The Arrow Fund in Louisville when it died from its injuries Wednesday. Rescue volunteers say Wolfie, who was less than one year old, died of severe dehydration and malnutrition.

"The clinic that it went to in Louisville, they were waiting at the door with blood and plasma. It still only lived about two hours", said Tammy Noble, Chairman of the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter.

Volunteers at The Arrow Fund say the puppy was so anemic it did not have enough blood in it's body to be responsive at all.

"One positive is at least we got it out and it was surrounded by people that loved it when it died", said Noble.

Four other dogs were taken from the couple's home. According to an arrest warrant, three of the dogs were crammed into a 6'x6' cage with no food or water.

Animal control officers say dog feces, fleas, and other inhumane conditions were everywhere.

"This is probably the worst", said Dustin Holland, an animal control officer in Letcher County. "I mean, I've got them in pretty bad shape, but that one there's probably the worst one that I've seen."

The four living dogs are in the care of the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter while the case is ongoing.

Jensen and Sturgill each face one count of torturing a dog resulting in death and three counts of second-degree cruelty to animals. They were taken to the Letcher County Detention Center.

The torture charge is a Class D felony. County Attorney Jamie Hatton says this is only the second and third time in his seven years of experience that he has charged people with felony charges for animal abuse. In order for the charge to be a felony, Hatton says the charges become felony charges if the animal suffers serious physical injury or death as a result of the torture.

Shelter officials hope this situation is a wake up call for anyone who cannot take care of the animals they have.

"There's no reason for animal cruelty", said Noble. "All they have to do is call the shelter. If they can't handle an animal, whether it be medical, or whether it be overwhelmed by too many, all they have to do is contact the shelter. We will help them."