On Sunday, the operator of an Ohio animal rescue organization was charged with multiple felonies after authorities discovered 30 deceased dogs at two of its locations.
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released on Friday that searches of two locations associated with the non-profit Helping Hands for Furry Paws uncovered 90 canines kept in inhumane conditions.
Rhonda Murphy is characterized as the organization’s owner and chief executive officer. She faced “dozens of charges of neglect and cruelty to companion animals, both felony and misdemeanor,” according to the office.
It was unclear whether she was apprehended, booked, or charged formally. Murphy was not listed as an inmate, and court records yielded no information about the case.
It was unclear whether Murphy had legal counsel. The local public defender did not respond promptly to a request for comment.
The sheriff’s office reported that it’s dog wardens and humane officers discovered the deceased dogs at one of the two locations searched in Madison Township.
On websites that provide information about nonprofit organizations, Helping Hands for Furry Paws is listed as being located in Middleton, a city adjacent to Madison Township in Butler County.
The sheriff’s office said in a statement that the deceased animals were discovered in refrigerators and freezers in various stages of decomposition, some of which were not functioning.
The reasons for the search and whether it was conducted with a judge’s approval were not disclosed in the sheriff’s statement, and a contact for the office’s dog wardens could not be reached immediately.
At the location, deputies also discovered canines that were alive but in need of fresh air, food, and water, according to the sheriff’s office.
It was reported that one garage housed more than twenty-five canines in cages without ventilation or air conditioning, with measured indoor temperatures of 89 degrees.
Their enclosures allegedly contained feces and urine and lacked food and water, according to the sheriff’s office. “One cage contained a mother and eight newborn puppies,” the text read.
Another location, which the sheriff’s office referred to as “the main house,” contained eleven dogs. It is unclear which locations are depicted in photographs that depict hoarder-like conditions.
In a statement, sheriff’s officials characterized the stench as “horrendous” and said deputies had to take breaks to walk outside for fresh air.
According to NBC affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati, the Animal Friends Humane Society took in the confiscated canines, nearly doubling its animal population.