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County officials are denying an inmate’s claims that animals at Taylor County Animal Shelter were buried alive in mass graves.
In a letter to the Central Kentucky News-Journal, Andy Stewart, who is serving time for arson, said he was working at the animal shelter when the event allegedly occurred. Stewart has since been transferred to the Marion County jail.
Stewart’s claims were recently reported by Wave 3 News in Louisville.
“After euthanizing the animals, some of them would still be alive and we would throw them and the dead ones in the bucket of a backhoe and take and dump them into the incinerator dead or alive,” Stewart wrote to the News-Journal.
Stewart also claimed that on April 7, when the incinerator was out of service, he and others were forced to bury about 60 dogs and cats. However, according to the Wave 3 report, Stewart claims that 39 dogs and cats were euthanized.
“As we started covering them up with dirt, some of the dogs were still alive ... but we were made to go ahead and cover them up with dirt,” Stewart wrote in his letter to the News-Journal.
Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said Stewart’s allegations are not true.
“They are false allegations,” he said. “To say they were buried alive is not true. I know that John would not bury dogs alive.”
Shelter Director John Harris did not return calls before press time.
Rogers said the burner on the incinerator went out and the part had to be ordered. He said the incinerator was down for about two weeks. He said that it is true that 39 animals were euthanized and buried in mass graves.
The Kentucky Environmental Protection Agency has referred the case to the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners. Rogers said County Attorney John Bertram has filed paperwork with the Board, including a letter from another inmate that claims Stewart was not working at the shelter on April 7.
According to Rogers, the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners is expected to discuss the case during its December meeting and decide whether to follow up on the allegations.