By the time police arrived, it was too late to save Rosco, the dog who died in a Swanton apartment.

Vermont police officers believe that the pit bull and Labrador mix had been eating a foam mattress during his three week ordeal of abandonment and starvation. But from the physical evidence, that’s not what dog actually died from…

Check it out per the Seattle Times:

A Vermont police department says two people are facing animal abuse charges after a dead dog was found in the Swanton apartment where they had been living.

Swanton police were called to the Depot Street apartment March 7 after receiving a report that a dog had died after it was mistreated at the apartment.

Police and the town health officer made contact with the owners who let officials inside where they discovered the dog carcass. Police say the dog had been starved and was killed by having its skull cracked open with a sharp object.

The dog’s owners, 26-year-old Kevin Cosgrove and 24-year-old Brittany Weston of Swanton, are scheduled to appear in court next month to answer a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. It’s unclear if they have attorneys.

Here’s more from the Burlington Free Press:

A neighbor alerted police on March 7, according to a Swanton Police news release.

Neither Cosgrove nor Weston could immediately be reached for comment. Police said Cosgrove and Weston said the dog had drowned during local flooding, but Kachajian said their apartment had not flooded. Police said there was “no evidence” to support the owners’ story.

The couple are due to appear in Vermont Superior Court in St. Albans on April 23.

Not only did this sick couple allegedly starve Roscoe for weeks on end, but they ended up bashing him over the head with a heavy object, cracking his skull. They should receive the harshest punishment available under Vermont law and be prohibited from owning any animals in the future.

This is exactly why the United States of America needs to national animal abuser registry. The current system relies upon local cites and states to provide those databases, but they aren’t updated with regularity and often aren’t checked by adoption agencies and animal rescue organizations.

What should happen to this couple?

How much time would you give them?