HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. — After a veterinarian notified police about a severely emaciated dog that was in such poor shape it was feared she would not survive the appointment, charges have been filed against a man who posed as an IMPD officer when animal control officers went to his door.
Hendricks County Animal Control officers were sent to an apartment on Creekhollow Road on March 31 after Xeena, a black Labrador retriever, was brought in to a local vet.
Court documents alleged the dog’s owner, Markee Deloney, told the vet the dog had collapsed. The veterinary staff became concerned about the dog’s condition immediately, due to the “level of apparent starvation that she was in.” Xeena was said to be so weak she could not hold her head up and weighed only 21 pounds. The vet technician said the average weight for a lab with a similar bone structure is 50 pounds.
The attending veterinarian believed the dog had been severely neglected and recommended several treatment options, to which Deloney refused.
Deloney was advised to take the animal to another animal clinic. Staff at that clinic said Xeena had a very low temperature and glucose level, signs that the dogs had not eaten in some time.
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A veterinarian recommended the dog be put down, fearing she was “at the point of no return.” Court documents show Deloney declined and opted to take the dog home. The veterinarian gave him several painkillers free of charge to help ease Xeena’s symptoms, charging documents show.
When animal control attempted to make contact with Deloney, he refused to let them into the apartment and identified himself as an IMPD police officer, according to court documents. Deloney also carried the dog out of his apartment, since the dog could not walk on her own.
Plainfield police officer and K-9 handler Rob Prichard saw Xeena and described her to be “near death due to starvation” with a lack of fat or muscle and protruding ribs, hips and skull.
“I didn’t sleep the night I saw the dog,” Prichard admitted.
Veterinary staff use a 1-9 scale to assess the health of a dog. Xeena was determined to be a 0.
“Both the vet and animal control said we have never seen a dog that is 0 and lived,” said Prichard.
Xeena was eventually turned over to an emergency clinic where her glucose levels stabilized. She was put in intensive care with around the clock monitoring.
“They [Animal Control] said treating her would probably clean out their vet budget for the year. But they are going to do it anyway, because this is here now. This is an immediacy. This is the problem,” said Prichard. “And we’re gonna take care of it, and we’re gonna figure everything else out later.”
While Xeena heals, she will do so with a new name. Prichard said she was renamed Ripley as an homage to the surviving heroine of “Alien.” A GoFundMe has been set up for her care, you can donate here.
Meanwhile, police in Hendricks County contacted IMPD and Marion County Sheriff’s Office about whether Deloney worked for either agency.
IMPD confirmed that Deloney was employed as a probationary police officer from December 2019 to September 2022. Deloney was discharged for “failing to meet standards,” IMPD said.
Upon learning of the Plainfield investigation, IMPD determined that several items of IMPD issued police equipment had not been recovered after Deloney was discharged.
When Plainfield police went to arrest Deloney at his apartment, court documents indicated the following was in plain sight: “police-issued duty belt, along with a police-issued radio, police-issued stun gun, a police-issued body armor carrier and a badge from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.” There was also a police-issued rifle case and police-issued pistol case.
Police also noted the bottle of pain medication for the dog was never opened.
A neighbor told officers Deloney had often claimed to be an active IMPD officer, although the neighbor had doubts due to Deloney rarely leaving the apartment.
Another dog that was found in a cage in the apartment was taken into custody. That dog was also severely emaciated and rated a 2 on the 1-9 scale.
Deloney was charged with impersonation of a public servant and animal cruelty.
IMPD said the department is reviewing its internal process to determine why the police-issued items were not recovered following Deloney’s termination and to ensure procedures were properly followed.