MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WCMH) — Deputies arrested an Ohio woman on Wednesday after finding animals at her dog rescue in “the most horrible conditions ever seen,” according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
60-year-old Ronda Murphy was arrested on three charges, including two misdemeanor counts and one felony count of cruelty to a companion animal. The sheriff’s office said as the investigation continues, more charges could be filed.
Deputy dog wardens seized 90 living dogs and at least 30 dead dogs on two properties owned by Murphy. The sheriff’s office said she had operated an animal rescue branded as Helping Hands for Furry Paws.
On Murphy’s properties, investigators found remains of dead adult dogs and puppies inside refrigerators, freezers and other locations in varying states of decomposition. One of the garages housed over 25 dogs in cages with no ventilation or air conditioning, with the sheriff’s office noting indoor temperatures that reached about 90 degrees. Murphy had animals sharing cages together that were filled with urine and fecal matter, with no food or water.
The deputy dog wardens described the conditions the dogs were housed in as unlivable. As they processed the scene, the sheriff’s office said the odor was strong enough to burn their eyes and take away their breath.
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office removed all 90 of the living dogs from the properties and took them to Animal Friends Humane Society of Butler County, where they are being treated. The Humane Society is seeking donations and foster care providers to assist with the large influx of animals at the shelter. Anyone interested in helping can contact Animal Friends Humane Society here.
Murphy was housed in the Middletown Jail pending an arraignment hearing as of Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.