Schambon v. Commonwealth

821 S.W.2d 804 (1991)

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Schambon v. Commonwealth

Kentucky Supreme Court
821 S.W.2d 804 (1991)

Facts

In June 1989, a deputy sheriff and the county dog warden visited the home of Floyd and Barbara Schambon (defendants) to investigate possible animal abuse. The officers saw approximately 20 caged dogs in the Schambons’ garage. The garage was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and smelled of urine and feces. The dogs had no food or water, and one of the dogs was eating the remains of another. The officers also observed multiple caged cats, a deceased dog, and a guinea pig inside of the home. The house was in disarray with dishes scattered and covered in mold. The house also had an overpowering stench of urine and feces. The Commonwealth of Kentucky (plaintiff) charged Floyd and Barbara with 28 counts of animal cruelty in the second degree. The Schambons’ four children, all between the ages of 13 and five, were placed with foster families due to the home’s unsanitary conditions. The foster families discovered that the children had suffered severe physical and sexual abuse. The Schambons were charged with criminal child abuse and sodomy. The Schambons filed a motion with the trial court, requesting that they receive separate trials from each other and for the offenses. The trial court held a hearing. The trial court found that the animal and child-abuse offenses were intertwined and shared evidence and that the animal-abuse evidence could be used to establish the Schambons’ state of mind concerning the child abuse. The trial court ordered that the offenses and trials be consolidated after concluding that the Schambons would not be unfairly prejudiced. The Schambons were convicted and appealed. On appeal, the Schambons argued that some of the charges were misnamed in the indictment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lambert, J.)

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