Greenup couple faces charges for abuse and neglect of dogs

By Portia Williams

April 4, 2014

By Portia Williams


GREENUP —Joe and Lois Rhea of Greenup County, have been charged with animal cruelty in the 2nd degree, after an animal rights group Boston Terrier Rescue of East Tennessee purchased two dogs from Craig’s List on Wednesday that had been abused and neglected.

Greenup County Sheriff’ deputy, Larry Pancake, said a 12-state rescue group contacted the sheriff’s office regarding a possible, “puppy mill,” after the group purchased two Boston terriers that had been abused. Pancake said the sheriff’s office launched an investigation.

He said the dogs were living in deplorable conditions.

“They were in very small cages for the size of the dogs. There was excessive urine and feces inside. One of the dogs that was brought out was soaked (in urine) pretty badly,” Pancake said.

Allison Sparling, of Boston Terrier Rescue of East Tennessee, said this is one of the worst cases she has seen in Kentucky.

“We rescued two Boston Terriers off of Craig’s List. The Boston terrier with the embedded collar was one of those dogs, and I have been working deputy Pancake to get the other four dogs. The first two dogs are with Boston Terriers Rescue East Tennessee, and they were not part of the seizure with the other four dogs, but they were purchased by the same owners,” Sparling said. “In Kentucky, this is definitely one of the worst cases of abused that I’ve witnessed.”

She said the information that her rescue group provided to the sheriff’s office allowed deputies to capture the other four dogs.

Robert Carpenter, Greenup County Judge Executive who oversees the Greenup County Animal Shelter said he is glad the sheriff’s office intervened.

“Our part in this is, is that we have the Animal Shelter that we maintain for the county, taking care of our animals. We have a good Animal Control officer, and I’ve got a good crew at the pound. Larry Pancake told us that they got a call from some of the rescue groups which are helping in all of the counties now, that these people were running a puppy mill. Larry to Elaine Elder from the Humane Society, our Animal Control officer, Doug Jordan went out to see them,” Carpenter said.

He said the Greenup County Sheriff deputy, Larry Pancake, confiscated the dogs, after seeing their physical condition, including open wounds, and broken bones.

“Larry confiscated them, and took them to the pound, but I sent them on to the vet yesterday and had them all checked,” he said. We didn’t have to do that, but I wanted to, to ensure that they are okay. The one that was in the worst shape had the deep cut in it’s neck, went on to the rescue group. We will hold on to the other four and wait until the court tells us what to do,” Carpenter said.

According to the sheriff’s office, criminal summons have been placed on Joe and Lois Rhea, and have a court date that is forthcoming.

Portia Williams can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.