ARL says dog beat in front of animal control officer

Local News

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DES MOINES — The Animal Rescue League of Iowa says a woman beat a dog in front of an animal control officer after concerned individuals reported for her beating the dog.

The organization said they received a call from several people about a woman abusing her dog named Toby. They described the woman hitting and throwing him, among other actions.

“It makes me angry,” said ARL of Iowa CEO Tom Colvin. “It makes me frustrated, it makes me very disappointed in humans that we would treat an animal that way.”

21-year-old Yelena Barr was arrested in late December on a single charge of animal neglect, released, and the very next day she bought a new dog off of Craigslist, according to the ARL.

“While walking down the hallway … Yelena kept repeating that the dog bit her,” a December 2019 criminal complaint reads. “She then struck the dog 3 times with her right hand while holding the dog in her left hand. The dog yelped each time. I yelled at her and told her to stop. Yelena said she would not and carried the dog to her apartment.”

The animal control officer at the scene also wrote that the dog hid beneath his feet, and that another individual observed Barr “holding the dog in the air and choking the dog with both hands” on the same day.

Barr pleaded guilty to animal neglect, a simple misdemeanor, and is serving 30 days in jail.

21-year-old Yelena Barr

ARL’s medical team examined Toby, where they noticed large bruises stretched from his injured eye to the top of his head and across his ear.

The organization is currently taking care of Toby. If you’d like to donate to the ARL, click here.

Right now, Iowa has some of the weakest animal protection laws.

Last year, Iowa lawmakers tried to pass a bill strengthening them.

It passed out of the House but stalled in the Senate.

The Senator managing that bill said it should move this upcoming session.

“It is one of my top priorities. I know that I have a promise from the Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver that we are going to vote on an animal cruelty bill,” Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, said.

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