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Juvenile Offender Charged With Abusing Dog


On Jan. 18, an Animal Rescue League of Iowa Animal Control Officer (ARL ACO) assisted the Des Moines Police Department (DMPD) on a call to save a dog in distress at the 2800 block of Boston Avenue. The young, male dog was inside the home with facial swelling nearly four times the normal size. The kennel he was in was covered in feces and his water bowl was full of blood.  When the owner was instructed to step away, the dog immediately ran over to one of the officers and leaned his entire body weight on the officer’s leg, seeking protection. The owner had allegedly wrapped an electrical cord around the dog’s muzzle and urinated on the dog.

The dog was removed and immediately taken to the ARL for treatment.  Upon his arrival, the ARL’s Emergency Care Team began administering pain medication, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medications and gave him a bath to make him comfortable.

The dog has been named “Bennie” by his ARL caretakers and is extremely sweet, loves attention, and loves treats.

The swelling of Bennie’s muzzle did not decrease for over a week after he was rescued.  He is still on medications due to the prolonged swelling and injuries. His gums were so ulcerated that there is still concern that he may lose gum tissue.  Where the ligature was tied around his muzzle, hair loss showing pink skin and scabbing is now visible. While the swelling of his muzzle has decreased significantly, now 3 weeks later, swelling is still evident.

Bennie still has several weeks of medical treatment ahead and the long-term effects of his injuries are still unknown.

Prep Iowa

The owner, a juvenile offender, was charged with 1 count of neglect, a simple misdemeanor. Since the owner is a minor, his name cannot be released.  The charge of neglect is the strongest possible charge currently under Iowa law.

“It is unimaginable the suffering that Bennie endured during this ordeal and it is particularly concerning that the alleged abuser is a juvenile offender.  Bennie is now safe at the ARL, but Iowa laws will do little to ensure that his alleged abuser is both punished and rehabilitated – and the laws will do absolutely nothing to ensure that other animals are protected from this person in the future,” said Tom Colvin, CEO for the ARL.  “It is past time for Iowa lawmakers to pass legislation to strengthen Iowa’s animal laws so that abusers receive appropriate punishment for their crimes and mental evaluations to determine treatment to prevent reoffending – and so animals can be protected from horrible abuse like what Bennie suffered.”

Donations for Bennie’s care are being accepted at https://www.arl-iowa.org/news/news/des-moines-juvenile-offender-charged-with-abusing-dog/

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