Sentencing delayed for Madison Twp. woman guilty of animal cruelty

Officials to review restitution owed to animal shelter after 90 Butler County dogs seized.

Sentencing for a Madison Twp. woman on multiple felony animal cruelty charges after more than 90 dogs were seized from her property last summer has been continued while restitution owed to the local animal shelter is calculated.

Ronda Murphy, 60, was indicted by a grand jury in October on 16 fifth-degree felony counts of cruelty to companion animals and seven misdemeanors of the same charge.

In January, Murphy pleaded guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court to 12 counts of animal cruelty — eight of which are felonies. In addition to the fifth-degree felonies, Murphy pleaded guilty to four of the second-degree misdemeanors.

In exchange for the plea, the remaining charges were dismissed. She faces a maximum of nearly nine years in jail, and Judge Noah Powers II set sentencing for Monday morning.

Sentencing, however, was cancelled and rescheduled for April 8 to give prosecutors more time to determine restitution owed to Animal Friends Humane Society that cared for the dogs until adoption.

The shelter needed additional time to assemble documents for restitution, according to Assistant Prosecutor Katie Pridemore.

“There were 92 dogs boarded as a result of defendant’s crimes. The states needs to prove lodging costs for each dog for various periods of time,” Pridemore wrote in court documents, “The state must prove that 70 dogs were spayed or neutered, 113 vaccines were administered (70 to adult dogs and 43 to puppies); two necropsy examinations were conducted; 16 holding fees for deceased dogs occurred and food and care was give to the dogs as well as Heartguard for 27 adult dogs was administered, Nexguard for 27 adult dogs was administered and Nexguard for 43 puppies was administered.”

Murphy is free on her own recognizance and has been ordered not to have any contact with animals.

Court documents outline details of the crimes, including: starving dogs to death, and failing to get medical treatment for dogs in her care who suffered from pneumonia “due to 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 the Mosiman Road residence without food or water, four neglected dogs were found in a pole barn and one, named Bella, was found without food or water locked in a van, according to court documents.

Deputies, detectives and deputy dog wardens arrived at the property in the 5000 block of Mosiman early July 27 for a welfare check on the dogs, court records show.

Murphy ran a rescue called ”Helping Hands for Furry Paws” and she was known to authorities because of previous calls, according to the court complaint.

In addition to the dogs found alive in “horrific” conditions, 30 canine bodies were discovered in refrigerators and freezers throughout the property and at an Eck Road property also owned by Murphy, BCSO said.

Animal Friends Humane Society on Princeton Road in Hamilton cared for the surviving animals that included senior dogs, nursing mothers and newborn puppies.

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