No charges filed in death of sick dog

A Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department investigation has determined that an underweight and sick German shepherd rescued from a Columbus home did not die as a result of any malice from its owners.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputy Jason Williams began investigating the death of 2-year-old German shepherd named Riley, who had been surrendered to a rescue in Quincy.

Riley weighed 43 pounds, compared to a normal, healthy German shepherd of his age which would weigh 95 to 100 pounds, said Joanie Zupan, who owns Indiana GSD (German Shepherd Dog) and Siberian Husky Rescue located about 60 miles northwest of Columbus.

Zupan had filed a police complaint that Riley was severely underweight and suffered from medical conditions. The dog was treated at a veterinary office in Brazil and died Nov. 12 at the facility after its kidneys shut down.

Deputies said Williams interviewed several people who were involved in Riley’s care and determined that Riley had multiple owners.

Two veterinary offices confirmed they treated the dog for whipworms and Coccidian.

Whipworms are intestinal parasites which cause severe irritation to the lining of the cecum and colon in dogs, which results in severe weight loss, the sheriff’s department said. A Coccidian infection can cause diarrhea and can be fatal, even though many dogs show no symptoms, the investigation revealed.

Sheriff Matt Myers said after the interviews and verifying the illnesses with the veterinarians, Williams did not find any probable cause to make a criminal case.

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