No criminal charges filed after death of severely underweight dog found in Bartholomew County

COLUMBUS, Ind. – No criminal charges will be filed after a dog was found severely underweight last month.

The two-year-old German shepherd named Riley was taken to a shelter in Quincy after being found at a home in Columbus. He was nearly 50 pounds underweight and was suffering from kidney failure. In addition, he had parasites and worms.

He was in such bad condition that he died within a day of starting treatment at Four Loving Paws Veterinary Services in Brazil. Photos of the emaciated dog sparked outrage on social media when they were posted on Nov. 12.

Dr. John Shepherd with Four Loving Paws Veterinary Services Riley was very sick when he was brought to the facility He was underweight and lacked energy. He said it’s uncommon for young dogs to be as sick as Riley was.

Joanie Zupan owns Indiana GSD and Siberian Husky Rescue, the Quincy shelter where Riley was initially taken. She said she wanted to press charges against Riley’s former owners.

“There needs to be some kind of justice done for Riley, but for all animals,” Zupan told FOX59 last month. “People like this need to realize that they aren’t just going to be yelled at, slapped on the wrist—they need go to jail.”

Zupan filed an incident report with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office. Detective Jason Williams was assigned to investigate the case and interviewed several people involved in caring for Riley. The dog had multiple owners, police said.

Two veterinarian offices treated Riley for whipworms and coccidian. Whipworms are intestinal parasites that live in a dog’s cecum and colon, causing severe irritation to the lining of the organs. An infection can result in weight loss and “general debilitation” for a dog.

Coccidian infections cause diarrhea and can be fatal; many dogs don’t display symptoms. The illnesses contributed to Riley’s weight loss and dehydration, Williams found. As a result, the sheriff’s office concluded that no criminal charges should be filed.

“After a thorough investigation, that included interviewing numerous subjects involved, verifying the illnesses from which Riley suffered and reviewing reports from veterinarians, Detective Williams found no probable cause to make a criminal case and or arrest regarding the death of Riley,” said Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers in a statement.