Middletown woman charged with animal cruelty tells judge she has no money to defend herself

A Middletown woman has pleaded not guilty to six counts of felony animal cruelty after several dead animals were found in the backyard of her home.

In February, four dead dogs, including one with a decapitated head, were found in the backyard of Tina Marie Jackson’s home, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

During a court appearance Monday, Jackson pleaded not guilty and told Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens that she needed a public defender appointed because she could not afford an attorney.

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Jackson, 39, told the judge she was selling off personal belongings to pay bills.

She is free on $5,000 bond, which was set in municipal court after she was first arrested, and is scheduled to be back in court on April 30.

Last week, a Butler County grand jury indicted Jackson on the felony charges.

Humane officers found four dead dogs on the Oxford State Road property 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.

Necropsies, which are autopsies performed on animals, were conducted on all four dogs. Three dogs were found to have no food in their stomachs, and the cause of death was ruled starvation.

No cause of death was determined for the dog with the severed head due to lack of evidence, officials said.

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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.

“It’s just so frustrating because we offer so many ways to help and still people don’t get it,” Butler County Dog Warden Supervisor Kurt Merbs previously told this newspaper. “We’re still getting these calls of dogs starving to death.”

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