- Ohio, USA -
On Wednesday, November 11, an emaciated 5-year-old German Shepherd named Sarge, was taken to the Tharp Animal Health Care Center in Chillicothe by his guardian, 22-year-old JESSICA M. MALONE.
MALONE told staff that Sarge had suddenly collapsed, that his weight loss had occurred over two days, and she was in the process of switching food to encourage him to eat.
Dr. Thomas Tharp examined the 5-year-old furbaby who was weighing only 47 pounds and could not stand on his own.
Dr. Tharp then contacted the Ross County Humane Society and expressed his concerns about Sarge's physical state and potential neglect.
At that point the Ross County Dog Warden took possession of Sarge with the intention to proceed with cruelty charges.
After being examined, Sarge remained in the care of Dr. Tharp until November 13.
He was still unable to support his own weight.
The humane society took Sarge to North Fork Animal Clinic for a second opinion.
Veterinarians ran more tests, conducted further physical examinations, took X-rays, and checked his bloodwork.
All the tests and examinations found there was no immediate medical reason for Sarge's body condition.
Dr. Tharp said: “It is our opinion that this did not occur over the span of two to three days. This was long term, improper care. The fact that [Malone] has never once owned a dog but was training this one to be a search and rescue animal despite never taking him to the vet is also very concerning — and very out of the ordinary for trained service animals.”
The Ross County Humane Society confirmed with a canine trainer that Sarge was being trained by him to become a search and rescue dog.
MALONE allegedly admitted that since she had obtained Sarge, believed to be in May, he had never been examined by a veterinarian.
On an update posted on November 14, the Ross County Humane Society wrote that Sarge is currently being fostered by one of its employees.
Part of the post reads: “This morning, for the first time in several days, he was able to stand up and eat on his own. He is on a very cautious refeeding schedule under the supervision of our veterinarian. It doesn’t seem like much but he seems to be getting stronger each day.
We are awaiting a few test results from our vet to rule out any other possible medical issues that may be present that could have contributed to his current state. He seems to have some cognitive delays and depth perception issues. We will address those if they are still present after we able to get him back to a normal body weight.
He has been taking very short walks as he is willing and able and we will be monitoring him around the clock as he heals.”
Ross County Humane Society Director Jenn Thomas said: “There is no reasonable explanation for letting a dog become in this condition. There is no reason that I can think of that one would wait until their dog has almost no body fat, every rib showing and collapsing to seek out medical care.”
At the moment doctors are not sure of what long-term damage has been done both physically and mentally as a result of his lack of appropriate medical care and emaciation.
JESSICA M. MALONE has been charged with failure to license and two cruelty charges of torture and failure to provide medical care in a timely manner.
All are misdemeanor charges.
MALONE, of 767 Hopetown Road, is a former Ross County corrections officer and at time of writing, current dispatcher for the Greenfield Police Department.
The Department did not comment on whether she will face disciplinary action.
Chillicothe Gazette reports that Captain Mike Preston with the Ross County Sheriff's Office confirmed MALONE’s employments as a corrections officer in the jail from May 2018 to July 2019 and from January 2020 to August 2020.
JESSICA M. MALONE is scheduled to appear in court on December 4.
Pictures shared from Ross County Humane Society