TAYLOR COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - The pictures were sickening and caused public outcry.
It was August 2018 when WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters showed pictures of the conditions inside Phillips Agri Farm in Campbellsville.
Kathy Borseth had taken the pictures during a welfare check.
One dog was seen lying dead in its own waste. Some of the pictures showed other dogs covered in filth, their food scattered amid the feces-covered floors.
The images prompted an investigation and charges against Rebecca Phillips. She agreed to plead guilty to six counts of cruelty to animals and six counts of failure to vaccinate dogs against rabies. She was allowed, however, to keep 25 of the dogs.
Since the charges, the Taylor County Animal Shelter says conditions at the farm have changed. WAVE 3 News confirmed an inspection was conducted on July 9 by the shelter's new director. What inspectors saw during the welfare check, they said, was very different than what was found last year.
Taylor County Animal Control Director Anne Mercer said the kennels were clean and the dogs were in good health. According to an animal control form filled out during the welfare check, they took a look at both adult and puppy kennels. The document states the kennels were clean and all the dogs had food and water. No pictures were taken during the welfare check, Mercer said. She added that is normal unless conditions are poor.
Mercer became the director in February, and said she had serious concerns after the initial reports. She added that the dogs also seemed happy and that they saw no signs of abuse.
This latest inspection was prompted by a new welfare check. It was not part of the inspections that were supposed to happen, according to the terms of Phillips’ plea agreement. Those documents state the name of only one inspector that was supposed to conduct them. However, that inspector quit.
Mercer was unaware of any other inspections before she conducted the one on July 9.
The couple who owns the farm, Bobby and Rebecca Phillips, were both initially charged with 82 counts of animal cruelty and 82 counts of failure to vaccinate the dogs for rabies. The charges were dropped against Bobby Phillips, who at the time was also running for Taylor County Judge-Executive.
Rebecca Phillips’ punishment angered a group of animal lovers in Taylor County who called it a slap in the face. Much of the negotiations between the Phillipses and Taylor County officials were sealed. It was unclear if the pictures Borseth took of the deplorable conditions were ever presented as evidence in court.
The dogs taken from the farm required a lot of medical care. They were taken into the custody of the Taylor County Animal Shelter.
The County’s Judge Executive’s office at the time said the estimated cost of housing the dogs was $108,540.