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Couple Pleads Guilty To Animal Cruelty In Dog Abuse Case

Maria Borrell To Stand Trial Starting July 12

The Harrodsburg Herald/Robert Moore
Titan, one of two dogs authorities say were left in a cage without food or water for four month, was brought to the Mercer County Judicial Center last year to bring attention to the case and to Kentucky’s lax animal cruelty laws. (File image).

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The owners of two dogs authorities say were abandoned without food or water for months back in 2022 have pleaded guilty.

On Thursday, April 6, Michael and Katrina Cain both pleaded guilty to two counts of 2nd degree animal cruelty. The Cains were both sentenced to 365 days to serve for each count, totalling 730 days each. Their sentences were probated two years, with the stipulation they have no animals, perform 200 hours of community service and pay $3,698.19 in restitution at a rate of $370 a month.

In addition, Michael Cain is to serve 10 days in confinement, with the rest of his sentence probated two years. The couple will return to court on Sept. 7 at 1:30 p.m. for review.

The charge of 2nd degree cruelty to animals is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail per offense.

“We hope it stands as a deterrent,” said Karen Aubrey, president of the Harrodsburg-Mercer Humane Society. “You can’t come to Mercer County and get away with animal abuse.”

The case began June 7, 2022, when deputies from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office discovered the dogs on McAfee Lane. According to the sheriff’s office, the couple who formerly lived in the Mercer County residence moved to Liberty about four months before the dogs were discovered. By the time the sheriff’s office received complaints about the malnourished dogs, one had broken free of the cage in which the dogs had been confined and was running loose. Both were taken to Commonwealth Animal Hospital in Harrodsburg for treatment. The two dogs were subsequently named Rocket and Titan. One year after being taken in, Aubrey said both dogs are doing great, although Titan is still under medical care.

“We want them to get homes,” Aubrey said. “They’re traumatized. It’s going to take a little effort to find the right home.”

This is not the only infamous animal cruelty case that may reach some kind of conclusion this year. The case against horse trainer Maria Borell, who is charged with 43 counts of 2nd degree cruelty to animals, is scheduled for a three-day jury trial starting on Wednesday, July 12.

The Borrell case dates back to 2016. In June of that year, officials discovered 43 severely neglected horses which were said to belong to Maria Borell and her father, Charles Borell, on a farm on Martin Lane. As part of a plea agreement, Charles Borell entered an Alford plea—a guilty plea where a defendant asserts their innocence but admits the evidence would lead to conviction—to nine counts of 2nd degree animal cruelty in September of that year and was sentenced to two years.
Law enforcement were unable to serve warrants on Maria Borell, who is now being represented by criminal defense attorney Russell Baldani of the Baldani Law Group in Lexington. In May 2022, Baldani said his client gave herself up.

Borell trained the 2015 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Runhappy but was fired the day after the colt won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, according to media reports.

The case—and the ensuing struggle to care for the horses—led Kentucky to enact the Borell law in 2017, allowing courts to order people convicted of animal cruelty to pay restitution for the upkeep of neglected horses and terminate their ownership of the animals.

Aubrey thanked animal lovers from Mercer County and across the nation for their help in nursing Rocket and Titan back to help.

“We appreciate the support and concern from everyone in the community,” she said.

After Rocket and Titan were first discovered, Aubrey said donations poured into the humane society from as far away as California, but as the case wound its way through the court system, the support dried up. The humane society are accepting donations to help with expenses. They will also hold an adoption event at the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce (101 South Main Street) on Wednesday, April 26, at 9 a.m.

Learn more about the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Humane Society’s mission to serve as a voice for animals or make a donation by calling 859-734-9500.

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