MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — The prosecution has made an offer to the father and daughter accused of having more than 50 Chihuahuas living in poor conditions in their McCracken County home.
Harold and Jennifer Campbell appeared before District Court Judge Todd Jones Tuesday morning. Each is charged with 51 counts of second-degree cruelty to animal. The charges stem from McCracken County Animal Control finding dozens of Chihuhuas in the Campbells' home on Oaks Road on Oct. 22. Officers found more dogs during subsequent visits. Some of the Chihuahuas died.
During Tuesday's court hearing, the defense mentioned that the Campbells missed their previous appearances because they were both hospitalized. The judge continued the cases until 9 a.m. on Feb. 11 to give the defense time to verify whether the suspects were in the hospital and to review the charges.
Assistant McCracken County Attorney Craig Newbern says the prosecution has extended a plea deal to the Campbells.
"It's just a way for us to kind of ensure that we don't have any problems like this in the future with the dogs," said Newbern.
Under the offer, the Campbells must forfeit all animals and cannot have any animals for two years. In addition, the suspects would serve 45 days in jail if they accept the deal. Newbern explained that, although each suspect is facing 51 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, they need to be merged into one count.
"These could not run consecutively as a matter of law, so they have to run concurrently. So, we just basically put them into one count," said Newbern.
Newbern said the maximum sentence for animal cruelty is 12 months behind bars.
"This (offer) is not the max. But we think that it's appropriate in light of the nature of the charges," said Newbern. "Just with the nature of the charge, the facts of the case. I really can't get into the specifics, but this is a pretty bad case. And so I really thought about this. But I think that what we come up with is appropriate, again, given the nature of the charge and given the facts of particular case that's in front of us right now."
The Campbells have not accepted the plea deal. Newbern said the defense also has the option to make a counteroffer.
"The offer has been extended. So from this point, the ball is in their court. So again, we just have to figure out where we go from here," said Newbern. "Is it going to be a matter that a plea is entered, or is it going to be a matter where a trial is set, ultimately."
Should the suspects plead guilty and be found in contempt of court, they would need to serve an additional 45 days behind bars.
The Campbells remain in the McCracken County Jail. Jennifer is also being held on a first-degree bail-dumping charge.
Meanwhile, Local 6 checked in with the McCracken County Humane Society, which treated and socialized the rescued Chihuahuas. Executive Director Terry Vannerson said most of the Chihuhuas have been adopted.
"It's very rewarding. We've gotten a lot of responses of the adopters that are so tickled and pleased," said Vannerson.
The only Chihuahuas left are two puppies: Dopey and Bashful, named after two of the seven dwarfs. Dopey (a male) and Bashful (a female) were born at the Humane Society from different mothers that were both rescued from the Campbells' home. Dopey and Bashful are currently too small to be adopted. But the Humane Society will post on its Facebook page once the pups are ready for forever homes.
Vannerson said from October through December of 2019, the McCracken County Humane Society took in 338 animals for abuse, abandonment and hoarding cases. During the same three months in 2018, the Humane Society took in 164.
"I'm very proud of my staff and the community for supporting us and getting us through this challenging journey," said Vannerson.