RADCLIFF, Ky. — A Hardin County woman is facing several animal abuse charges after dozens of dead and neglected dogs were found inside her home.
Morgan Barrick, 26, has been charged with 35 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.
Barrick is listed as the owner of Golden Grove Kennels, a dog breeding program that started in 2016. She served as a dog show trainer and handler, as well.
According to the Radcliff Police Department, officers initially went to Barrick's home because of a tip from a dog owner who was trying to get in touch with Barrick but couldn't get ahold of her.
WARNING: Some of the details regarding this case may be too disturbing for some readers. Discretion is advised.
When officers arrived they found 21 dead dogs inside Barrick's home. Two of the dogs were found already decomposing inside her vehicle, an arrest citation said.
Authorities also found 14 other neglected dogs, 12 of which were puppies, inside the home. Police said the dogs "physically appeared to be in jeopardy."
"The animals still alive were very skinny to the point that bony structures such as rib cages, elbows and hips could easily be identified," a responding officer wrote in the citation.
Police noticed that very little food was left out for the dogs and there were no water bowls.
Some of the deceased dogs had even been partially eaten by other dogs.
The dogs found dead inside the breeder's car had been wrapped in plastic bags "with some type of white substance on the carcasses" and were already in the process of decomposition, authorities said.
"It’s very disturbing and very heartbreaking, especially for the animal owners that may have entrusted her with the care and custody of their animals," said Captain Willie Wells with Radcliff PD. "Animals are like family to us all.”
Officials said Hardin County Animal Control seized the remaining dogs that were still alive and removed all dead dogs from the scene.
WHAS 11 talked to affected families, mourning and pleading for justice.
Cheyenne Collins' dog, Cane, was found dead in the home.
"Animal control told me I could not receive his ashes, I can't get a footprint, not even a little shave of hair because they couldn't even tell me what color he was. The only way they could identify my dog was his microchip," Collins said.
Collins, like many others, told WHAS11 she trusted Barrick to care for her show dogs. In the case of Cane, they were actually co-owners.
"That was my best friend. I can’t even bring him home in a box, and she (Barrick) doesn’t have any sort of remorse or any explanation -- nothing," Collins said.
The issues extend beyond this case.
According to a necropsy report, Breeder Deana Crutcher and Maryann Carter-Laventure co-owned Cyrus, a dog who died under Barrick’s care more than a year ago.
The report noted Cyrus was extremely underweight and suffered from gastric dilatation (bloat), which can be fatal in dogs if untreated in a timely fashion. He also had pneumonia.
Crutcher said Barrick had excelled in the field for years, noting she even had recommended the 26-year-old to other dog owners because of the great work she had done.
Crutcher said her daughter and Barrick had gone to school together, and always had great things to say. But in recent years, Crutcher said calls to Barrick started to go unanswered.
“I never once thought that my dog was being starved and torched and burned," Crutcher said.
Court records show Barrick was previously charged with animal cruelty back in December 2021 and still has upcoming pre-trial conferences scheduled for the case.
Each of Barrick's charges to this point, including from the 2021 case, have been animal cruelty in the 2nd Degree, which is a Class A misdemeanor in Kentucky -- not a felony.
It's become a sticking point for many animal rights groups, and now for the families affected by this gruesome act, pleading for justice and changes to state statute.
Captain Wells, weighing in: "I would like to see a greater sense of accountability for somebody that’s charged with these types of offenses.”
Barrick is out of jail after posting a $2,500 cash bond last week. She was arraigned Monday morning.
She also worked as the freshman girls basketball coach at John Hardin High School. According to the school district, Barrick was fired Monday morning.
Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.