An Arrington woman pleaded no contest June 4 in Nelson Circuit Court to charges of animal cruelty and inadequate care that left her animals days, if not moments, from death.
Evelyn B. Taylor, 30, is charged with three felony counts of animal torture and one misdemeanor count of inadequate care. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped seven other related misdemeanor charges.
Having found the evidence sufficient enough to find Taylor guilty, Circuit Court Judge Michael Doucette deferred judgment for a period of one year. During this time, she will be under advisement and is required to complete supervised probation and good behavior.
She also was sentenced to more than two months of jail time, all of which was suspended and she cannot have sole responsibility of animals.
If Taylor follows the court’s ruling, her three felony charges will be downgraded to misdemeanors as a result of the plea.
In a summary of the evidence and testimony that would have been used had the case gone to trial, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Erik Laub said an officer with the Nelson County Animal Control Department visited the defendant’s property multiple times from August to September of 2020 and witnessed inadequate care in the form of food, water and shelter of multiple dogs, including weeks-old puppies, and pigs that lived there.
On Sept. 8, Taylor, who was not living at the property at the time, voluntarily turned the animals over and the veterinarian with the animal shelter, would have testified about their rapidly declining health, Laub said.
The two nursing female canines on the property had been tethered, had multiple wounds and lacerations on their bodies at various stages of healing, had tested positive for worms and were malnourished. Laub said in the veterinarian’s expert opinion, both animals were just days away from death.
Of the two litters of puppies recovered, one group was mere hours from death that “by the grace of God arrived when they did,” Laub said. The other litter was markedly healthier but still suffered from weeks of lack of proper care.
The veterinarian would have testified the pigs were found to be dehydrated but were not at a serious risk of death like the other animals, Laub said.
Taylor’s defense attorney, William Berry, said the defendant’s lack of prior criminal history, financial difficulties and an ongoing domestic situation around that time had all contributed to her inability to care for the animals.
“She was just unable to care as she needed to for these animals,” Berry said.
Laub said all the dogs have since been adopted or are in foster homes.