Charges, Changes in Humane Society Case
By Barry Wright
PADUCAH, KY - McCracken District Judge Tony Kitchen Tuesday denied a motion to dismiss charges against Dalena Hall, one of two people charged with a number of violations at the McCracken County Humane Society in Paducah.
Hall is charged with nine counts of euthanizing animals without a license and one count of forgery third degree for falsifying euthanasia records. Hall pleaded not guilty on the fraud charge during the motion hearing as well as her co-defendant, Beau Anderson.
Hall’s attorney, Jeremy Ian Smith, pleaded with the judge at the hearing to have the charges dismissed because he says state law (KRS 321.207) notes “Euthanasia of animals in a certified animal control agency shall be performed by a licensed veterinarian, including a registered veterinary technician or technologist employed by and functioning under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, or a certified animal euthanasia specialist.”
“Basically what this statute does, Your Honor, is it puts the emphasis on a certified animal control agency to police itself who is euthanizing animals in its control,” Smith said. “That’s who the statute is meant to police. It is not meant to police the actual people that are in the humane society that may or may not be doing this because this statute is meant for the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners. It allows them to police the humane society.”
After his motion was denied, Smith said “I feel good about my case; it’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Meanwhile, Hall’s co-defendant, Beau Anderson, is expected to have his charges dropped while charges of animal cruelty and forgery are expected to be forthcoming by the McCracken County Attorney’s office.
During Tuesday’s motion hearing, Anderson’s attorney, Kevin Olsen, and Assistant County Attorney Todd Jones discussed the possibility of dropping the current charges against Anderson and amending the charges to nine counts of animal cruelty. Anderson was charged with nine counts of euthanizing animals without proper sedation.
Olsen told the judge that he objected to the amended charges saying “he’s being charged with a completely new crime.”
Judge Kitchen then asked if the alleged conduct was different in the new charges than it was in the old charges. Jones said no, but Olsen says they are completely different.
“What he would had to approve before is that he violated the administrative regulations, what he would have to prove now is a completely different set of circumstances,” Olsen said. “Judge if you read RCR 6.16, I don’t think you will find any case in Kentucky where this would have been allowed. You can amend an indictment to change dates, to add similar things to that. And I’m kind of in a weird position. It’s not going to be a big deal for him to go back and get a summons and make the charge. The problem is I need to have a clean record to object to the new charges. And if we just amend them, I think I would be unable to do that.”
After more discussion, it was decided that Anderson’s charges would be dropped and that he would be charged with animal cruelty and forgery third degree instead.
The reported violations stem from an investigation by the McCracken County Sheriff's Department into alleged improper euthanasia and office procedures performed at the shelter by Hall and Anderson.
Both are scheduled to appear in court again for a continued first appearance on April 12 at 9 am.