MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- A Middletown man was found guilty Monday to chaining his German shepherd to a tree for four years.
Jeremy Shane Temple faced charges of animal abuse, having an improperly chained dog and having an unlicensed dog. He will soon spend five mandatory days in jail and is required to pay for the dog's current veterinarian bills, about $3,000. He must also pay a $150 fine.
Authorities said they found the dog chained to a backyard tree. The dog, later named Joseph, was starved, infected and physically abused.
Joseph was taken to a veterinary clinic for evaluation and treatment.
Meg Melampy, a volunteer at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), said fleas were eating Joseph alive.
"When I gave him a bath, the blood just ran off of him,” Melampy said.
Officers said neighbors witnessed the abuse, but thought the animal was sick.
Ron Allman lives next door to the Temples and said his neighbors denied abusing their pet.
"They told us that it was a disease that he had," Allman said.
After Temple was arrested, Allman said a family member asked him for a favor.
"She wanted us to write a sort of note...that we never saw anyone mistreat the dog...so we did,” Allman said.
When the arresting officer asked Temple about the dog's condition, his answer was, "the dog is not a human,” according to a police report.
Temple called the German Shepherd Toby. But his rescuers renamed him Joseph, after the biblical character who was left for dead and became a ruler.
Joseph is healthy and doing well.