Thursday, April 27, 2000

5 dogs reported with signs of abuse

Couple facing cruelty to animals charges

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        MADISON TOWNSHIP — Renee Jeffries has been a Butler County deputy dog warden only a few weeks, but on Monday she got a jolt on her new job.

        Acting on an anonymous tip, Ms. Jeffries and Butler County sheriff's deputies reported finding five dogs at a home on Corlee Road that bore signs of abuse or neglect. One dog's snout was tightly sealed with duct tape, which deputies removed.

        The snouts of two other dogs also had been taped, but the tape was removed before authorities arrived. The final two dogs appeared malnourished.

        Holly Zimmerman and her husband, Bruce, are facing five misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals. They will appear in Middletown Municipal Court on May 10.

        The couple also received four citations for failure to license their dogs.

        “This is actually my first time being first on the scene. Emotionally it was shocking to me,” Ms. Jeffries said. “It was awful. I can't even fathom what their reasoning was, there wasn't any. I can't stress enough how sweet these dogs were.”

        In addition to being taped, one of the dogs was chained to a doghouse and wearing a pinch collar that was digging into its fur, Ms. Jeffries said.

        Mrs. Zimmerman “admitted that she was the owner of the property, that she lived there and those were her dogs,” Ms. Jeffries said. But she said she didn't know how the taping happened, Ms. Jeffries said.

        The animals could not be removed from the home because they were not in life-threatening situations, Ms. Jeffries said. She does not expect the dogs to suffer any lasting effects from the tape.

        Such cases are unusual in Butler County, officials said. The last similar case here involved some abandoned, malnourished horses several years ago, said Butler County Sheriff's Lt. Greg Blankenship.


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