Bartholomew County Sheriff deputies are investigating a reported case of animal cruelty in Columbus involving a 2-year-old German Shepherd that died of starvation and neglect.

The dog, who was named Riley, was rescued by an animal rescue group in Quincy after a neighbor in Columbus learned of the dog’s plight and offered to take him.

Joanie Zupan, Quincy, who owns Indiana GSD and Siberian Husky Rescue, attempted to help the dog by taking him to a vet in Brazil for treatment of malnutrition, parasites and worms, but the dog was too far gone and died on Sunday, she said.

She filed a police report with the sheriff’s department on Tuesday against the dog’s owners alleging animal cruelty.

“People need to be educated — if you can’t afford a dog or can’t take care of it, you shouldn’t have the dog,” she said. “It’s not right people can do this to a dog. They need to be in jail.”

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.