A 2-year-old German shepherd named Riley died Nov. 12 from starvation and neglect, despite attempts by a neighbor and dog rescue organization to save him.
Now the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a case of animal cruelty against its Columbus owners. A person convicted of animal cruelty in Indiana, a Class B misdemeanor, faces up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Riley’s death is a heartbreaking reminder that pets should be treated as family members, and given the love and care that a child or spouse should receive.
Riley was malnourished and had worms. He weighed 43 pounds — about 50 pounds underweight compared to a normal, healthy German shepherd his age.
Riley’s owners wanted to give him away. A neighbor took the dog to Indiana GSD (German Shepherd Dog) and Siberian Husky Rescue, which then took Riley to a veterinarian. The dog received fluids and antibiotics, but his kidneys shut down.
Although the Columbus owners had Riley since he was a puppy, they could produce no veterinarian records when asked for them.
Those that don’t have the means to care for a pet should give it up for adoption so that it can live a natural life and bring joy to another family.
Riley didn’t deserve the treatment he received. Nor should any other pet.