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Butler County Property Owner Indicted on Multiple Charges After Discovery of 90 Dogs, Some Deceased

A grand jury in Butler County, Ohio, has issued more than 20 indictments for animal cruelty against a woman who was arrested last summer. This development follows the seizure of almost 90 dogs on her property in Madison Township, causing public outrage and demands for swift justice.

According to WCPO 9, Ronda Murphy, aged 60, faced an initial charge of one felony count for cruelty to companion animals and two misdemeanor counts in Middletown Municipal Court. The Butler County Sheriff’s Office filed these charges following the discovery of the animals at her residence on Mosiman Road.

However, in a recent development, Murphy faces a total of 23 counts of brutality against companion animals. These charges include 16 fifth-degree felonies and seven second-degree misdemeanors.

Magistrate Matt Reed will oversee her arraignment, scheduled for Oct. 24. Additionally, Judge Noah Powers II of the Butler County Common Pleas has been assigned to the case.

Butler County prosecutor highlights animal abuse concerns

Joe Auciello, the legal representative for Murphy, is currently in trial in Hamilton County. As a result, he stated that he hasn’t had the opportunity to review the indictment yet.

Meanwhile, Michael Gmoser, the Prosecutor for Butler County, is sending a message to all those who may be concerned about animal abuse. He is urging individuals to speak up and report any suspected cases of animal cruelty to the authorities.

“These types of cases generally are only going to be disclosed by the attention of others,” Gmoser emphasized. He believes that the public can help prevent further harm to animals by being aware of their condition and taking action by contacting local authorities if they suspect any abuse. Not only is it necessary to put a stop to the injury and death of animals, but it’s also important to raise awareness and act promptly to protect pets in the future. According to him, swift reporting can save the lives of innocent animals and bring the culprits to justice.

On July 31, authorities took Murphy into custody and detained her at the Middletown City Jail for a few days. Subsequently, she chose to forgo her right to a preliminary hearing, which led to the grand jury evaluating the case. Following this, Judge James Sherron of the Middletown Municipal Court granted her release on her own recognizance bond.

Sherron imposed a strict no-contact order with any animals as a condition of Murphy’s own recognizance (OR) release. Additionally, Murphy surrendered the dogs to the county dog warden’s office for care under the supervision of the Animal Friends Humane Society. This ensured that the dogs underwent vetting, making eligible canines immediately available for adoption without having to wait for the resolution of the criminal case.

Dog rescue operation uncovers ‘horrific conditions’ at Butler County property

According to court records, on the early morning of July 27, detectives, deputies, and deputy dog wardens conducted a welfare check on the Butler County property located in the 5000 block of Mosiman. Notably, Murphy — who operated a rescue organization known as “Helping Hands for Furry Paws” — had come to the attention of authorities due to previous calls, as detailed in the court complaint.

Aside from finding the dogs alive in “horrific conditions,” the Butler County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) reported discovering 30 canine remains in refrigerators and freezers on the property. This distressing find extended to another property on Eck Road also owned by Murphy.

Deputy Dog Warden Abigail Forkner, in the complaint, noted that some of these remains had decomposed to the point of liquefaction, rendering them unremovable. However, authorities were able to identify and collect 18 bodies.

The Animal Friends Humane Society, located on Princeton Road in Hamilton, has taken the surviving pooches under its care, which include senior dogs, nursing mothers, and newborn pups.

All in all, Murphy’s case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of enforcing animal welfare laws and the need for vigilance in monitoring rescue organizations to ensure the well-being of animals in their care.

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