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What kind of message does it send to animal abusers when, after four years of starving and physically abusing a dog, you will only face a laughable $25 fine?
Such is the case for Jeremy Temple, a Middletown, Ohio man charged with animal cruelty after leaving his dog, a German Shepherd he called “Toby,” tied to a tree for 4 years.
Animal Control officers say they found the dog tied to a tree with little food or water. After rescuing him, they found him to be drastically underweight and riddled with fleas, showing signs of years of physical abuse.
Meg Melampy, a volunteer at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), said it was one of the worst flea infestations she’d ever seen. “When I gave him a bath, the blood just ran off of him,” she explained to WCPO News.
Though neighbors had witnessed the abuse and neglect, they said Temple told them the dog had a disease, that he was sick, and claimed to be doing nothing wrong.
According to the police report, when the arresting officer asked Temple about the dog’s condition, his answer was, “the dog is not a human.”
Rescuers say Toby’s condition is improving and he’ll likely recover from the years of abuse he endured. They have renamed him “Joseph,” after the biblical character that was left for dead but later became a ruler.
Despite Joseph’s condition and obvious years of abuse, Temple was only charged $25 for his offenses.