Butler County woman sent to prison in animal cruelty case

Ronda Murphy also ordered to repay thousands to animal shelter after 90 Madison Twp. dogs seized.

A judge sentenced a Madison Twp. woman to prison in an animal cruelty case that began last summer when more than 90 dogs were removed from her property and 30 dead dogs were found.

Ronda Murphy, 60, was ordered to serve 54 months in prison and faces a reimbursement order of $16,221, according to Katie Pridemore, assistant prosecutor.

Murphy had been indicted in October on 16 fifth-degree felony counts of cruelty to companion animals and seven misdemeanors of the same charge.

She pleaded guilty in January to 12 counts, eight of which were felonies, and the remaining counts were dismissed.

In March, Murphy’s sentencing had been delayed while officials worked to calculate restitution owed to the local animal shelter.

Animal Friends Humane Society cared for the dogs until adoption. The shelter needed the additional time to assemble documents for restitution, according to Pridemore. The surviving animals included senior dogs, nursing mothers and newborn puppies.

Murphy, who ran a rescue called “Helping Hands for Furry Paws,” had faced a maximum of about nine years in prison.

“There were 92 dogs boarded as a result of defendant’s crimes,” Pridemore wrote in court documents.

She said 70 dogs were spayed or neutered and 113 vaccines were administered. Other costs came from examinations were conducted, fees for deceased dogs, food and care, plus Heartguard for 27 adult dogs and Nexguard for 43 puppies.

Murphy failed to get medical treatment for dogs in her care, court documents said, and starved dogs to death. Records indicated dogs faced “horrible living conditions,” open sores, rickets “due to being kept in the dark and continuously caged” and chronic ear infections and skin conditions.

Three dogs were found in the living room of her residence in the 5000 block of Mosiman Road without food or water, four neglected dogs were found in a pole barn and one was found without food or water and locked in a van, according to court documents.

Deputies, detectives and deputy dog wardens came to the property July 27 for a welfare check on the dogs, court records show.

Officials knew Murphy from previous calls, according to the court complaint.

Butler County Sheriff’s Office investigators said 30 canine bodies were discovered in refrigerators and freezers throughout the property and at an Eck Road property also owned by Murphy.

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