MONROE, Ohio -- A Lemon Township couple said they planned to plead guilty to animal cruelty after their dog was found in “deplorable condition" and died shortly afterward.
Rosemary Verge, 63, called the Monroe Family Pet Clinic and asked them to euthanize her dog, Lily, police said. Joseph’s Legacy Rescue, the organization that was called to transport Lily, contacted authorities when they saw her condition, according to supervisor Kurt Merbs. Lily was starving and sick; her ribs showed through her patchy coat, and she had open sores on her paws and wrists from trying and failing to stand, said Joseph's Legacy president Meg Melampy.
“They called us to investigate what led to this dog’s poor condition, which was so bad they could not retrieve a temperature due to the organs shutting down,” Merbs said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the dog did not survive the night at the hospital.”
Verge and her husband, 68-year-old David Verge, are both physically disabled, and Rosemary said they took care of Lily as well as they were capable.
"We did not realize the dog was that sick, and it was hard for us to take care of the dogs, but we did what we could," she said.
However, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said there was no excuse for the condition in which Lily was found. She and another dog with serious health issues lived in a small, cramped room piled high with detritus, and Rosemary Verge said she and her husband brought them into the living room just once a day.
“If they could use a phone, they certainly could have gotten help for this dog,” Jones said in a release. “There is never a reason to be cruel or neglectful to a defenseless animal.”
Meg Melampy agreed.
"I try not to take myself to what (Lily) went through," she said, adding that she wished the Verges would have gotten in touch with authorities sooner. "Nobody’s going to get in trouble if you call and say, 'Hey, I can’t take care of my dog anymore. can you please help?'”
Rosemary Verge said that she and her husband both planned to plead guilty to the charges filed against them Jan. 19. They have agreed not to take any other animals into their home.
The case is under investigation by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.