WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. - Monday night we're learning more about a gruesome discovery animal control officials say they made at a central Kentucky farm.
Dozens of animals were found dead inside of a barn on Woodlake Road near Midway, prompting multiple pending charges of animal neglect and cruelty.
"All the animals that were located are in various stages of decomposition, and some of them appear to have been dead for several months," said Sgt. Keith Broughton, with the Woodford County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's deputies, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Woodford County Animal Control officials tell us they are still collecting evidence in this case.
An animal cruelty and neglect complaint to Woodford County Animal Control lead law enforcement to the site, where they found 16 horses, one donkey, and several chickens, cats, and dogs dead.
"Several of the animals were in cages and/or in stalls. We did find one of the horses laying in the hallway of the barn. And we found several of the dogs and cats in trailers," said Sgt. Broughton.
Animal control officials are questioning Cheryll Jeffers, who the farm is leased to and owns these animals, in this case.
"My understanding is she possibly may have been assisting and rescuing these animals, which is kind of ironic," said Sgt. Broughton. "But my understanding is that some of them were rescue animals or from friends of hers that had brought the animals out here for her to take care of."
As the investigation continues, they are determining whether Jeffers will be criminally charged in this case.
As far as animal cases go, this sergeant says it's the worst he's ever seen.
"I'm a pet owner myself, so I cannot imagine how it would have felt if someone treated my dog like that," said Sgt. Broughton. "Obviously, I hate to see any of them dead, but at this magnitude, it is pretty bad.
We are told that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is possibly taking some animals for medical examinations to determine their cause of death, which is currently unknown.
Investigators say they are going back to the farm tomorrow to reevaluate the scene, and they'll try to place the remaining, living horses with people who will take care of them.