MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- A Middletown man was charged with animal cruelty after police say his German shepherd was chained to a tree for four years.
Authorities said the dog was starved, infected and physically abused. And when all was said and done, the dog’s owner was fined $25.
Owner Jeremy Shane 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.
"He's feeling a little better now, a little more perky," West Chester veterinary clinic manager Michael Gigis said.
Officers said they found the dog chained to a backyard tree with little food or water.
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 alleged abuse, but thought the animal was sick.
Gigis said he was shocked when the dog was brought to his clinic.
"There's no excuse for this. None,” Gigis said. “I mean, you can see, this is the worst case of abuse I’ve seen here."
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 is due in court on Oct. 14.
Joseph is expected to make a full recovery.