Animal Rescue League: Woman Beats Her Dog in Front of Animal Control Officer

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Des Moines woman is now behind bars after an Animal Control Officer says she beat her dog in front of them.

The Animal Rescue League said they received a complaint about Yelena Barr abusing her dog, Toby, and when an animal control officer arrived he witnessed Barr throw the dog to the ground and hit it repeatedly.

“Tried to talk to the person ended up having to put himself between the dog and the abuser in order to get this striking, beating kicking at this dog to stop,” ARL CEO Tom Colvin said.

Barr pleaded guilty to animal neglect and is currently serving a 30-day sentence.

The ARL said Toby is suffering from severe injuries to his head and has older permanent injuries that will affect the way he walks, but they think he can recover and someday trust humans again.

“That’s the one thing about animals, they forgive much quicker and easier than humans but he’s going to have to receive consistent kind and gentle care,” Colvin said.

Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said incidents like this are very concerning and tough to deal with.

“It’s just as heartbreaking as it is when you think about a person who intentionally harms somebody who is dependent like a child or a dependent adult. I mean because essentially you are attacking someone who is helpless and dependent upon you for their care. And you look long term the thing that’s troubling about it is we know that intentional cruelty to animals often correlates strongly with cruelty and assaults on people down the road,” Sgt. Parizek said.

Colvin said he hopes House File 737 will be passed and signed right away during the upcoming legislative session to begin to stop the cruelty they continue to see.

"In our legislative work, we've been doing you know wanting to have language that specifically spelled out that people that have been accused and convicted of this type of crime not be allowed to own pets for a given period of time as long a period of time as the law will allow," Colvin said.

The ARL said the day after Barr was arrested and released she bought another dog off Craigslist. That dog is now with the ARL as well.