ANIMAL TORTURE: Woman Hangs Dog

Des Moines police say a woman hanged her boyfriend’s dog because, in her opinion, the dog was old and barked too much.

28-year-old Sheena Ann Cornwell is charged with animal torture in connection with the dog’s death Saturday afternoon.

It’s something police say they haven’t seen before.

“This is pretty ugly, this is pretty gruesome,” says Sgt. Jason Halifax with the Des Moines Police Dept.

Des Moines Police were sent  to Joshua VanDyke’s home Saturday evening, after he called saying his girlfriend, Sheena Cornwell,  had killed their dog Lillie.

VanDyke didn’t want to appear on camera, but did talk to Channel 13 off camera.

He told Channel 13, his girlfriend heard Lillie barking in the garage and went outside.  Five minutes later she walked back inside and said, “she`s gone, I killed her,” says Joshua VanDyke.

VanDyke said he ran outside and found his dog Lillie dead, hanging from the rafters.

“When officers arrived they saw the same thing, when they had asked Sheena about this she indicated that Lillie was old and she was going to die anyway and indicated she didn`t appear to be at all remorseful,” says Sgt. Halifax.

VanDyke said Lillie was a rescue dog, and was around ten years old, but wasn’t a problem dog by any means.

He said this was out of character for Cornwell who was a self-proclaimed animal lover.

The couple had several animals together including ferrets, reptiles, Lillie and two other dogs.

Local animal welfare group, St. Francis Foundation for Pets, says what happened is beyond cruel.

“It was disbelief that anyone could kill an animal this way, when there are so many humane options,” says member Lin Sorenson.

Sorenson says the organization will be closely following this case, hoping Cornwell gets an appropriate punishment for what she did.

“I think it’s absolutely critical that first and foremost she gets jail time to break through any denial that she has concerning the issues that caused her to kill this animal,” says Sorenson.

Cornwell was arrested at the house Saturday and was released later that night.

She faces a maximum punishment of two years in prison and a $6,000 fine.

VanDyke told Channel 13 he will be requesting a restraining order against Cornwell for fear she may come after his other animals.

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