The Middletown woman charged with felony animal cruelty waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Monday, and her case was bound over to the Butler County Grand Jury.
Tina Marie Jackson, 39, is represented by attorney Chris Atkins. She posted 10 percent of her $5,000 bond last week and was released from Middletown City Jail, according to Middletown Municipal Court records.
Jackson was scheduled to appear before Middletown Municipal Court Judge James Sherron at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, but for unknown reasons, her case was moved up to the morning. Several protesters from Joseph’s Legacy were disappointed when they arrived for the preliminary hearing.
Butler County Dog Warden Supervisor Kurt Merbs also showed up to testify in the afternoon. He was told court officials called and left a message on his office phone, but he was out of the office all morning, he said.
When asked his reaction to the charges, Merbs said: “Appalling. It’s just so frustrating because we offer so many ways to help and still people don’t get it. We’re still getting these calls of dogs starving to death.”
Robin Rook, treasurer for Joseph’s Legacy, was one of those who planned to be the “voice” of the dogs, she said.
“We want justice for Sasha the dog we rescued from Oxford State, where four other dogs died,” she said. “We all are tore up over the whole situation that dogs are abused in the manner.”
Jackson was charged with the felony after several dead animals were found in her backyard of her residence in the 1300 block of Oxford State Road, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
Four dogs were observed by the humane officers when they arrived on Feb. 16. Two of the dogs were found in dog houses, another one was found in a black plastic tote along with a decapitated dog’s head, according to the sheriff’s office. Jackson said she ran out of dog food and she never provided bedding in the dog houses to keep the dogs warm. She did not offer an explanation for the decapitated dog.
Necropsies were conducted on all four dogs, and three were found to have no food in their stomachs, and the cause of death was ruled starvation. There could not be any determination on cause of death of dog with the severed head due to lack of evidence in the specimen.
“I am beside myself,” Sheriff Richard Jones said at the time. “Owning one animal and treating it like trash is appalling but this woman had four. I am disgusted that these poor animals suffered and I am glad Ms. Jackson is behind bars.”
Staff writer Lauren Pack continued to this report.