A Corbin woman accused of 22 counts of cruelty to animals in June pleaded guilty to one count Tuesday in exchange for a probated jail sentence.
Sixty-three-year-old Saundra Nickels, shook her head “no” as she told Judge Fred White that she wished to accept the plea agreement offered by the Whitley County Attorney’s Office.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Nickels was sentenced to six months in jail, probated for two years provided she have no further legal issues within that time. At the prosecutor’s request, White added a condition that Nickels not own another dog during the probationary period.
The case stems from a complaint made by Jamie Johnson of the animal rights group, Justice for Abused Animals.
The complaint filed June 26 alleged that Nickels had in her possession numerous dogs that she was attempting to sell at flea markets and other locations throughout the area.
“Someone had taken pictures of her in the Walmart parking lot and sent the pictures to us,” Johnson said previously.
Johnson said she confronted Nickels about the dogs’ health and offered to take the dogs.
The dogs, described as Shih Tzu, Chihuahuas and several that were a mix of poodle and terrier, were legally surrendered to the organization and, in turn, placed in the care of various rescue organizations.
“The odor was so bad that we had to roll down every window in the vehicle,” Johnson said of what it was like when the dogs were surrendered.
Johnson said one of the dogs had been neglected so badly that it had to be euthanized.
Under Kentucky law, an individual convicted of cruelty to animals faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $500.